Tag Archive | jihad an nafs

How Social and Popular Media is Desensitising our Youth*

How Social and Popular Media is Desensitising our Youth*

By Muntadhir Abbas

As we plunge deeper into a world full of innovation in technological entertainment and social media frenzies, I have recently found myself seriously questioning the effects many of these platforms are having on our youth, as well the naivety of parents in this fast-paced and ever changing society we live in. Don’t get me wrong, there are numerous advantages to so many new and diverse sources of communication and entertainment. However, we are often blind to the risks they pose to children and adolescents.

In this, the first of two articles exploring the main social issues that stem from mediums such as TV, music, social media and console games, I hope to simply provide an insight into the reality of the effects of such media, coupled with my observations as a secondary/high school teacher.

It was the last day of term before Easter holiday, in particular, that prompted me to write this, as well as the exclusion from school of several Muslim children so far this academic year. Please note, I really don’t care whether children are Muslim are not, as I believe the welfare of EVERY child is important and the points I hope to raise apply to all demographics of society.

As it was the last lesson, deemed to be a ‘fun lesson’, I allowed the children, who are thirteen going on fourteen, to ‘chill on their phones’ as long as they didn’t use social media – the root of all disputes these days (a topic best discussed another time).

As I marked books, I noticed near on silence. When questioned, pupils almost unanimously said they were watching Netflix on their phone. Perhaps trusting my better judgement and not originally allowing them to use their phones would’ve been wiser, but now I was curious and felt the need to discuss things further. I asked about the phones they had, the contract they were on, who pays for bills, whether it was their own Netflix subscription, what they watch and so on. To my astonishment – and I’m still young and with the times – almost all pupils had the latest smartphone, with a fully paid contract, their own Netflix subscription and were free to watch whatever they wanted without any parental control. They were even viewing series that I watch – like Narcos, House of Cards and Top Boy – all of which have scenes I feel the need to skip! Furthermore, one of the girls said she was going to watch the infamous film 50 Shades of Grey film over the weekend. It was at this point that they could all see the concern and shock on my face, so we discussed things a little further. After some very tactful questions and reasoning on my part, the children – of various ethnicities and religions – all agreed and concluded that they are bombarded with so many scenes of violence, sex, drug and alcohol abuse that many of these social vices just aren’t, for lack of a better word, an ‘issue’ these days. Whilst I almost felt old fashioned, I think what really hit me was the acceptance and desensitisation that existed within these naive and somewhat vulnerable children – and they are just that, children!

“Do not follow that of which you have no knowledge. Indeed! The hearing, the sight and the heart — about each of these you will be questioned.” (Quran 17:36)

A study carried out by Dr. Steve Martino in 2013, published by research organisation RAND, discovered the following in relation to the links between media and psychosocial issues:

The more sexual content that kids see on television, the earlier they initiate sexual activity, the more likely they are to regret their early sexual experiences, and the more likely they are to have an unplanned teen pregnancy.

– There is a strong casual connection between youth exposure to violence in the media and violent or aggressive behaviour and thoughts.

– Kids are exposed to nearly 300 alcohol commercials per year. Similarly, more than 80% of movies depict alcohol use.

– The motives movie characters convey for smoking can adversely affect adolescents’ real-world smoking risk.

Furthermore, a study in 2005 by the notable pressure group the Keiser Family Foundation found the following in an intense survey:

– In 2005 there were 3,783 (sexual related) scenes in a 1,000-hour sample, compared with 1,930 in 1998.

– It found that 70% of shows had sexual content, ranging from a sexual reference to full depiction, with five sex-related scenes per hour on average.

As responsible adults, whether you are a parent or not, and whether you are religious or not, you don’t even need the studies above to tell you that there are real and alarming links between the mediums children and adolescents interact with and the types of behavioural and social issues they manifest.

To be blunt, consider the following areas of entertainment and their possible vices, remembering that everything about them is not bad, but if left unchecked, our youth are vulnerable.

TV and Films

With so many more scenes of violence, sex, nudity, substance abuse and gore, even during family hours (traditionally 7-9pm), we need to censor what is appropriate for youngsters to watch. The people they watch will often become a source of emulation, and if that is a drug dealer or a beautified popular cheerleader (forgive the clichés) then their perception of reality and aspiration in life will be warped. To give a better idea of how sexual activity has changed over time, a fact sheet released in 2011 by the Family Planning Association, found that the average age of sexual intercourse for both men and women was 16. This is down from 17 years of age from a similar study carried out a decade earlier.

“And the right of your sight is that you lower it before everything which is unlawful to you. And that you abandon using it except in situations in which you can take heed in such a way that you gain insight or acquire knowledge by it. Indeed the sight is the gateway to reflection.” – A Treatise of Rights; The Right of the Eye (Ali ibn Hussain as-Sajjad)

Music

Aside from the traditional view of music being impermissible (haram) in Islam (and that debate is well outside the scope of this article) generally certain types of music are seen to be detrimental to society. In some cases they stereotype specific cultures and result in self-fulfilling prophecies of gang culture and substance abuse, and in other cases the raw sexual content is alarming especially when the age of the listeners are as young as five. For example, in 2008, the song ‘I Kissed A Girl’ by Kate Perry was number one in the U.K. charts for several weeks, with children of all ages buying the single and singing the lyrics. The song was in reference to a lesbian experience, which the singer romanticised and soon gained fame for doing so. Again, the discussion on homosexuality is for another time, but the point is, we need to pay attention to what children are listening to. Other genres consist of constant references to drug abuse, womanising and gang culture, and yet have become so popular amongst teenage boys in particular. And these mainstream themes show no sign of abating.

And the right of hearing is to keep it pure by not making it the direct pathway to your heart, except for noble words that establish some good in your heart or grant you a noble trait. Indeed hearing is the gateway through which various concepts reach the heart —whether good or evil. And there is no power but in God. – A Treatise of Rights; The Right of the Ear (Ali ibn Hussain as-Sajjad)

Video Games

No-one needs to be told how popular one particular video game is, but the statistics are scary. In late 2013 for example, when Grand Theft Auto (GTA) V was released, it took three days for it to generate over one billion dollars in sales, making it the fastest selling entertainment product in history. This game is filled with violence, seeking gamers to use torture tactics, featuring grotesque depictions of women and general bad taste. Yet, the sales figures don’t lie, and youngsters across the globe are hooked to a game which simply numbs emotion towards what are very serious and sensitive issues in the world we live in.

Social media

Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram, Tinder, Twitter…the list goes on. All these innovative social media platforms, some of which have fantastic uses, are also places of much controversy. From child sexual grooming to radicalisation, there is a plethora of issues that arise from social media platforms. On a more day to day basis, children are using these sites and apps to express emotions in very unhealthy ways. This also extends to it being a major source of e-bullying, and the unmonitored sexual freedoms that exist online. From my experience in dealing with teenagers and social media, there are far too many conflicts that emanate as a result of irresponsible use of social media. The vast amount of freedom teenagers have been afforded both by parents and the owners of social media has resulted in unprecedented exchanges of sexualised images. From pouting poses to ‘nudes’ (pictures of one’s self posing fully or partially nude), many girls, in particular, face increasing pressure to post revealing and risqué pictures of themselves. Coupled with sexualised advertising that bombards children on a daily basis, there is an alarming risk that children are interacting with sexual issue they can’t fully comprehend, and far too young an age. Social media ‘celebrities’ all too often romanticise a hedonistic, narcissistic lifestyle, setting concerning ideals for our youngest generation.

Tell the believing men to lower their gaze, and protect their private parts. That is purer for them. Verily, Allah is All- Aware of what they do. And tell the believing women to lower their gaze, and protect their private parts and not to show off their adornment… (Quran 24:30-31)

1700 words of (unintentional) scaremongering later, it is my belief parents, carers, children, community members and society in general need to take a long hard look at the influence entertainment is having on our youth. As I have said, there are many advantages and developments that stem from these innovations, but we need to be mindful about the holistic effects they are having. As I once heard a scholar say, “a knife can be used to cut an orange or to inflict harm”, and if we responsibly nurture our youth, we will most certainly see the fruits in the future.

As for practical ways in which I believe we can nurture, safeguard and nourish children at various ages, I will be including them part 2 of this series.

And verily God is the all-Knowing.

Source*

Related Topics:

Why I Don’t Have Facebook or a Smartphone

How Facebook gives the U.S. Govt Access to your Profile Data*

WhatsApp and Facebook Data Sharing*

Your Facebook, Twitter and blog are about to be monitored for references to the Government

Can You Be Detained Over Facebook!

There Were 88 Media Companies… Now There Are 6 which get their News from Rothschild*

Five Times Western Media Failed to Call White Shooters Terrorists*

Taking Control of Your Family Home

WiFi — an Invisible Threat to all Life*

‘Digital Dementia’ Puts Half the Brain to Sleep … permanently!*

Living in the Moment and Our Duty to Serve Creation

Living in the Moment and Our Duty to Serve Creation

 

Related Topics:

Muslims in Florida Open Free Health Clinic for the Poor and Uninsured*

Homeless Eat Free at Muslim-Owned Restaurant In Washington, D.C.

When a Prayer is Answered with a Test*

Jews give Muslims Key to their Synagogue after Town’s Mosque Burns Down*

A Field View of Reality to Explain Human Interconnectedness*

Why Food is Actually INFORMATION*

On the Rights of Nature*

Muslim Postmaster Saves Elderly Customer after Foiling MoneyGram Scam*

“Deadly Facts”: How So-Called “Objectivity” Created a Culture of Conformity*

Plant Neurobiology Shows How Trees are Just Like Humans*

How to Resist From a Place of Love: Self-Care for the Long Haul*

The Journey Beyond Yourself: On Welcoming Who You Truly Are*

I’tekaf – The Gem of Worship that you May not Know About*

The Connected Universe*

Why is the Holiest Shrine in Christianity Guarded by Two Muslim Families?*

Prophet Muhammed (SAW) on Ramadhan

Turning the Tide — Our Time is Now*

The aql is not Reason – it’s Consciousness*

In the Beginning was/is Consciousness*

The Centre of Consciousness is One’s Heart*

Consciousness the Last Stand*

Humanity at the Crossroads: The Crisis in Spiritual Consciousness

“I came so close to taking my own life again, that I knew it was time to change things”

Our Conception of God isn’t Big Enough*

Deep Thinking

I’tekaf – The Gem of Worship that you May not Know About*

I’tekaf – The Gem of Worship that you May not Know About*

“…And We imposed a duty upon Abraham and Ismael, (saying): Purify My house for those who perform Tawaf (Ta’ifeen) and those who are staying [there] (A’kifeen) for worship and those who bow and prostrate [in prayer].” (The Holy Qur’an 2:125)

Once again the blessed month of Rajab has arrived, and the anticipation for the feast of Allah has started. You may be already thinking:

 “how can I make the best of the next two months to help prepare for a Ramadhan that’s not just all about hunger and thirst?”

If that is the case, then it is your lucky day, because you may have just stumbled upon the perfect method to get you ready for Ramadhan; and that’s through I’tekaf.

Those of us who have lived or visited Muslim countries before are more likely to have heard of the ritual of I’tekaf, but if it doesn’t ring a bell, you’re in for a surprise! It is a fascinating practice which can only be likened to the ihram of Hajj, where you give up on many of your worldly desires and start a journey of self-purification and spiritual revival.

In essence, I’tekaf refers to the act of residing in a mosque for a period of three days or more, during which an individual seeks closeness to Allah (swt) by performing various A’mal (rituals) and refraining from a number of prohibited acts. It may sound simple, but there is a beauty to I’tekaf that makes it so special compared to other rituals in Islam.

Yes, we have all recited our beloved Qur’an before; we have all stood shoulder to shoulder next to our brothers and sister in congregational prayers, but each of these A’mal when performed in I’tekaf gain a whole new dimension. Imagine you are on a three-day journey to Allah where each individual A’mal count as a station along a journey that is set to enrich us for the rest of it. That Quran recitation on the back of that beautiful lecture, followed by an inspiring dua and later on by Salatul Layl, all performed amongst other mo’takifeen who have devoted themselves to Allah (swt) for three days… that’s what makes I’tekaf so special. You are no longer in this world, but in a place where none of your daily worries matter.

What is I’tekaf?

I’tekaf literally means ‘to stop in a certain place‘, and in the Islamic context it refers to staying in a mosque for a period of three days or more. An individual can do I’tekaf at any time of the year, but the best period is between 13th to 15th of Rajab and during the last ten days of the holy month of Ramadhan. The I’tekaf in Rajab is more common as it is a great way to prepare ourselves for the holy month of Ramadhan.

The beauty and importance of I’tekaf can be seen in the holy Qur’an, where Allah (swt) mentions in Surah Baqara:

“…And We imposed a duty upon Abraham and Ismael, (saying): Purify My house for those who perform Tawaf (Ta’ifeen) and those who are staying [there] (A’kifeen) for worship and those who bow and prostrate [in prayer].” (2:125)

The word A’kifeen is a reference to those who perform I’tekaf in the house of Allah. This ayah shows that I’tekaf is not an act only introduced by Islam, but one that was practiced by followers of other prophets including prophet Ibrahim (as).

It is narrated from Imam Ali (as):
فلم يزل يعتکف في العشر الاو اخر من رمضان حتي توفاه الله
“The Prophet (sa) was always in state of I’tekaf in the last ten days of Ramadhan until Allah (swt) took his life”. (Bihar al-Anwar, v. 94, p. 7)

What A’mal must to be performed during the three days?

I’tekaf officially starts at Fajr on 13th of Rajab, and ends at Maghrib on 15th. To be regarded a Mo’takef, it is obligatory for an individual residing in the mosque to fast for each of the three days. A person who is not able to fast for whatever reason, is not able to perform I’tekaf. Apart from this, there are no other obligatory A’mal, but it is highly recommended to recite plenty of Qur’an and be in constant remembrance of Allah (swt). And of course the last day of I’tekaf in Rajab coincides with the beautiful A’mal of Umm Dawood.

What acts are prohibited?

Leaving the Masjid is not permissible during the state of I’tekaf except for a necessity. Applying perfume and smelling perfume with the intention of deriving pleasure is prohibited, and this act makes I’tekaf null and void and is also a sin. Also prohibited are discussions and arguments both in relation to the world and the faith. This means that a person argues with another to prove that he is better or smarter or that he knows more, etc… However, if a person must argue or debate to uphold the truth and destroy falsehood, it is permissible – and in fact, this is the best form of worship and servitude to Allah (Glory and Greatness be to Him) during this noble state. Buying and selling anything is prohibited, as is deriving pleasure from one’s spouse in any way – holding hands, hugging, kissing, etc… all are completely forbidden in the state of I’tekaf. If any of these things are performed, one’s I’tekaf becomes void.

What do we aim to achieve?

The period of I’tekaf is the best time to force one’s self to sit and think and reflect on the self and the world around, and it is the best time to forget the worries of the transient world and to return to the soul and the Creator of the soul.

It is also the best time to return back to Allah (Glory and Greatness be to Him) in true repentance for our sins committed through the year, and to concentrate on the Words of Allah in the Qur’an, the prayers and supplications used to call upon Him, and all of those things which are related to Him and His Sacred Essence.

I’tekaf is not a three-day holiday from work or school; it is not a time to sit in the Masjid in complete ignorance of ones’ self and his spiritual surroundings; and it is not the venue to pass one’s time in idleness. I’tekaf is not the act of sleeping and snoring in the Masjid and killing time either. Truly, I’tekaf is a three day spiritual retreat to build the self; it is the act of leaving one’s personal house to be in the service of Allah (Glory and Greatness be to Him) and to recognize one’s self in Allah’s house (the Masjid) while at the same time, being a guest in the House of Allah (Glory and Greatness be to Him), eating His food which He has sent and being around His servants which He has guided.

Where can I perform I’tekaf?

I’tekaf is widely practiced in many of the mosques in Muslim countries. However, in more recent years it has become more common in Western countries. The following is a list of known cities that will host I’tekaf programmes this year between 11th and 13th April. Participants arrive at the mosque on 10th April in the evening, in time to be present for Fajr of 11th. All these events require registration and have limited spaces:

London / UK – Imam Ali Mosque (contact: itekaflondon@gmail.com)
Hamburg / Germany – Imam Ali Mosque (more info on: http://en.izhamburg.de/)
Stockholm / Sweden – Imam Ali Islamic Center (contact: info@imamalicenter.se)
Vancouver / Canada – Az-Zahraa Islamic Centre (contact: info@az-zahraa.org)

Source*

Related Topics:

Arguing God from Being?

Our Conception of God isn’t Big Enough*

Layla-tul Bara’at

Ten Ways to Prepare for Ramadhan From Now*

Are We Ready for Ramadhan?*

Prophet Muhammed (SAW) on Ramadhan

No Masters, No Rulers – A World Without Statist Conditioning*

No Masters, No Rulers – A World Without Statist Conditioning*

By Gary ‘Z’ McGee

“The most useful piece of learning for the uses of life is to unlearn what is untrue.” ~Antisthenes

Raised, as most of us are, within nation states, it is extremely difficult to think outside the statist box. It’s tantamount to cognitive dissonance; Might as well ask a fish to breathe outside water, it’s so counterintuitive. But, and here’s the rub, we are not fish, and if we want to continue to be a progressively evolving species on this planet, we are going to have to think outside the box.

The thing is, it’s perfectly okay if “the box” is healthy, sustainable, and moral. But when it’s unhealthy, unsustainable, and immoral, like the statist box is, then it becomes imperative that we think outside of it. If we cannot do this, then we cowardly give in to indifference and ignorance, and we will be ruled by those who know how to gain power over indifference and ignorance. As Plato pointed out,

 “The price of apathy toward public affairs is to be ruled by evil men.”

In order to recondition our statist conditioning, we’re going to have to imagine a world without masters and rulers. No mastery except for self-mastery; no rulers except for self-rule. This seems counterintuitive to our statist conditioning, but it’s not. We simply need to be a little more imaginative about the ways in which we approach the ideas of leadership and rules. Leadership does not imply the need for masters, and rules do not imply the need for a ruler. We simply need a fresh perspective, preferably one that can see past statist driven propaganda. As Plotinus said,

 “We must close our eyes and invoke a new manner of seeing… a wakefulness that is the birthright of us all, though few put it to use.”

No Masters Does NOT Mean No Leaders

“In individuals, insanity is rare; but in groups, parties, nations, and epochs, it is the rule.” ~Friedrich Nietzsche

A good leader does not seek mastery over others but mastery over the self. It is through self-mastery that a leader leads by example. No masters means no seeking mastery over others (tyranny), and no bequeathing mastery over oneself to others (slavery). It does not mean no leadership. Rather, no masters implies leadership through self-mastery, without the master-slave dynamic muddying up the waters of liberty.

The problem with growing up thinking inside the statist box is that we are brain washed into thinking that the mastery of the state, with its hierarchical power constructs and vertical oligarchy, is leadership. We are conditioned to think that our obedience to the system (house slavery) is the price we pay to not be kicked out of the nation (house).

No masters means freedom. Not the pseudo-freedom espoused by the state, but real freedom. It means no slavery, whether soft or hard. It means the individual is free to discover his/her own self-mastery through the leadership of others and not through obsequious to others or the system. As Epictetus said,

“No man is free, who is not master of himself.”

A good leader knows when to follow (obey) as well as when not to follow (disobey). A true leader will not blindly kowtow to the state, but wisely question it, knowing that the state is mostly made up of individuals who tend to seek mastery over others rather than self-mastery. It’s because of this tendency that most states dissolve into authoritarian regimes that rule by force (fear and violence) rather than leadership (honour and prestige). Lest we give into the inherent insanity of the state, we must remain self-empowered individuals seeking self-mastery through sound leadership rather than self-inured individuals blindly following the mastery of the system that keeps the state entrenched.

No Rulers Does NOT Mean No Rules

“Those who are too smart to engage in politics are punished by being governed by those who are dumber.” ~Plato

As it stands, we are a nation within which the majority of us do not engage in politics. Is it any wonder we are governed by orange-faced bigots and dumb and dumber bipartisanship? Ad hominem aside, the powers that be only have power when we the people agree that they have power.

The problem is that the majority of the people are not proactively engaged in politics and tend to be ignorant to the ways in which power works. This bodes well for those in power, for the entrenched masters and rulers, but not so well for those seeking self-mastery, self-rule, and freedom and justice for all. As Lord Byron once said,

“Those who will not reason are bigots, those who cannot, are fools, and those who dare not, are slaves.”

Lest we allow ourselves to become bigots, fools, and slaves, we must be proactively engaged with our own freedom and aware of how the powers that be are working to keep us that way. “No masters, no rulers” is an extremely poignant phrase that keeps us circumspect and vigilant regarding our own freedom and liberty.

But even this phrase rarely gets through to the masses, because the masses are thinking and reasoning within a preconditioned statist box. So the typical statist’s knee jerk reaction to “no rulers” is…”But, but, we need the rulers.” Well, of course we need rules, but who says we need rulers? And the statist says “But, who will enforce rules?” Easy! We will. We the people, we the free, we the self-governed, we the self-empowered. We who choose to self-rule and who seek self-mastery without a tyrannical state blocking our freedom using outdated, fallible, man-made laws that don’t agree with cosmic law, common sense, logic and reasoning, and the non-aggression principal.

There will always be rules. Our basic survival depends upon following certain cosmic rules. The problem is most rules delivered by the state usually violate cosmic law. And so the typical naïve statist, unaware of how cosmic laws work, unaware of how power works, blindly follow the rules of the state without realizing that they are violating laws way more important than petty state laws. This is because of fear-conditioning. Statists are conditioned through fear to follow state driven laws, and this fear acts like eye-guards to laws that really matter. But the fear is very real. The question is, what are we going to do about it? As Derrick Jensen said,

“Those in power rule by force, and the sooner we break ourselves of illusions to the contrary, the sooner we can at least begin to make reasonable decisions about whether, when, and how we are going to resist.”

At the end of the day, we all have a statist box that we must begin thinking outside of if we wish to progressively evolve as a species. “No masters, no rulers” is a useful phrase that we can use as a tool to leverage imagination and think outside the statist box. Statist conditioning be damned! Statist propaganda be damned! Statist brainwashing be damned! The way forward is to become individuals who are responsible with their own power; self-rule, self-mastery, self-empowerment, self-governance. Let the Goliath state rant and rave all it wants with its petty laws and outdated reasoning. We are David!

We alone are responsible for our own actions, because we are free, and we realize that anyone who says otherwise is a conditioned statist who isn’t ready to be free. They do not see the corruption and tyranny closing in upon them. They do not see the so-called masters and rulers threatening our self-mastery and self-rule with violence and fear. They do not see how their conditioning has crippled them into robots and pawns going through the motions of a diabolical soft slavery. They don’t even know that they don’t know. Meanwhile, the statist box they so desperately need to think outside of, lies hidden in the shadows of propaganda just waiting for them to gain the courage it takes to see past the smoke and mirrors. Like Brandon Stanton said,

“The way to learn courage is to be afraid of something, and then do it anyway.”

The scary part is, they don’t even know to be afraid.

Source*

Related Topics:

How Not to Master a Skill!

How to Resist From a Place of Love: Self-Care for the Long Haul*

Panic Grips Self-Inflicted U.S. NSA Shuts-down as Russia as all Clinton Phone-calls*

This is How Many Leaders today will be Remembered

How to Hold Space for Yourself*

The Intelligence of Self Observation and Self-Awareness*

When You Stop Wishing Yourself Away…

Self Esteem

30 Things to Stop Doing to Yourself

Self-Awareness: Between Me, Myself and Others

 

Proper Movements in Muslim Prayer can Reduce Lower Back Pain*

Proper Movements in Muslim Prayer can Reduce Lower Back Pain*

Five times a day, roughly 1.6 billion Muslims worldwide, bow, kneel, and place their foreheads to the ground in the direction of the holy city of Mecca, Saudi Arabia, as part of the Islamic prayer ritual, the Salat. According to research, the complex physical movements of the ritual can reduce lower back pain if performed regularly and properly.

According to research at Binghamton University, State University of New York, the complex physical movements of the Islamic prayer ritual, the Salat, can reduce lower back pain if performed regularly and properly.

Five times a day, roughly 1.6 billion Muslims worldwide, bow, kneel, and place their foreheads to the ground in the direction of the holy city of Mecca, Saudi Arabia, as part of the Islamic prayer ritual, the Salat. The ritual is one of the five obligatory elements of the faith set forth by the holy book, the Qur’an.

According to research at Binghamton University, State University of New York, the complex physical movements of the ritual can reduce lower back pain if performed regularly and properly.

“One way to think about the movements is that they are similar to those of yoga or physical therapy intervention exercises used to treat low back pain,” said Professor and Systems Science and Industrial Engineering Department Chair Mohammad Khasawneh, who is one of the authors of “An ergonomic study of body motions during Muslim prayer using digital human modelling.”

While the research focused specifically on Islamic prayer practices, similar movements are also found in Christian and Jewish prayer rituals along with yoga and physical therapy.

The paper was published in the latest issue of the International Journal of Industrial and Systems Engineering. Working with Khasawneh, an interfaith team of Assistant Professor Faisal Aqlan from the Department of Industrial Engineering at Penn State Behrend, Assistant Professor Abdulaziz Ahmed from the Business Department at the University of Minnesota Crookston, and Performance Improvement Consultant Wen Cao from the Department of Operational Performance Improvement at the Peninsula Regional Medical Center were all co-authors of the paper. All three are alumni of the Industrial and Systems Engineering doctoral program at Binghamton University.

“Physical health is influenced by socio-economic, lifestyle and religious factors. Moreover, studies indicate that there is a strong association between prayer and vigilance about maintaining a physically healthy lifestyle,” said Khasawneh.

“Prayer can eliminate physical stress and anxiety, while there is also research that indicates prayer rituals can be considered an effective clinical treatment of neuro-musculoskeletal dysfunction.”

Researchers analyzed statistics based on the movements of computer-generated digital human models of healthy Indian, Asian, and American men and women, and models with lower back pain.

The group found that the bowing portion is the most stressful on the lower back, but for individuals with low back pain, using proper knee and back angles during the ritual can reduce pain. The angles are based on individual body shapes.

“The maximum compression forces created during prayer postures is much lower than National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) safety limits, and the movements can be safely considered a clinical treatment for low back pain, as it requires different movements of the human body on a regular basis,” Khasawneh said.

“Based on the pain level, a combination of back and knee angles can be identified.”

For those with back pain, maintaining exact prayer postures may not be possible. According to Islamic traditions and practices, if individuals cannot stand, they are allowed to pray seated or laying. If they are able to stand, they should maintain correct postures as much as they can.

CAIRO, EGYPT – JANUARY 30: People pray in front of army tanks in Tahrir Square on January 30, 2011 in Cairo, Egypt. Cairo remained in a state of flux and marchers continued to protest in the streets and defy curfew. Photo by Peter Macdiarmid

“The kneeling posture (sujud) increases the elasticity of joints. It is recommended for these individuals to spend more time in the kneeling posture,” Khasawneh said.

According to the research team, using incorrect angles and movements can increase pain. The team also suggested that further study is needed for physically handicapped individuals, those with more extreme body types and women — especially pregnant women — to find the best movements for these groups. The group plans to further validate the findings with physical experiments using sensors and cameras to track the stresses on the individual body parts during the prayer ritual.

Source*

Related Topics:

When a Prayer is Answered with a Test*

U.S. Students form Protective Wall around Praying Muslim Classmates*

Sunnis ,Shi’as Pray for Unity Week after Bombing*

Night Prayer and the Human Body Clock

Qur’an is Wise to Ancient Satanic Conspiracy*

Scientists Discover That Fasting Triggers Stem Cell Regeneration and Fights Cancer*

The Healing Power of Fasting*

The Real Reason behind Blessing Food*

Five Signs When a Man is Connected to his Heart*

Five Signs When a Man is Connected to his Heart*

Gamo People and Sacred Forests of Ethiopia

By Bryan Reeves

What Does it Take to Be a Real Man?

Many men think our power is in our brains or our balls.

Our rational brains are supposed to do all the figuring out, while our testosterone-filled balls supply the driving force.

Intelligence. Determination. Courage. Sheer force of will. These are the masculine convictions of our brains and our balls. And they’re absolutely valid and essential in their own way. But when used in isolation from our true power source for too long, they leave us dead inside, unable to deeply connect with life – including our intimate partners.

When I was a U.S. military officer, I was trained to use those masculine brains’n’balls convictions to accomplish whatever the mission; whatever the cost. After 10 years of operating purely on brains and balls alone, I was completely dead inside. I couldn’t really laugh. I couldn’t at all cry. I had an amazing girlfriend I couldn’t really love. I couldn’t feel much of anything.

I didn’t realize then that the military takes to the extreme what modern culture idolizes: the prioritization of rationality over emotion; the worship of intellectual understanding over embodied knowing. The military intentionally disconnects the brains and balls from embodied knowing because that’s our direct connection to the actual, tangible, visceral life we’re immersed in every moment, regardless of what our brains have to say about it.

The military knows that you can’t take life when you feel connected to life.

The military knows that you can’t take life when you feel connected to life

The military knows that you can’t take life when you feel connected to life

 

Men, particularly, routinely deny this powerful, embodied connection to life that we cannot experience through our thinking brains alone. Yet this power centre is what enables us to deeply feel our own lives, to feel the world, and to then create truly extraordinary relationships with other people and lives in which we thrive every day.

Truly, when we live from this innate power source which connects us to life itself, we can make entire worlds thrive. This power source isn’t in our brains or our balls. It’s in the heart.

We men tend to think of ‘heart’ as merely something to help us win the game or appeal to a woman’s romantic side. That’s like thinking the sun is only good for heating bath water.

A man genuinely connected to his heart, who lives each day with his brain and balls in proper service to his heart’s deeper wisdom, is a man that breathes life into the world. He can inspire and lift up the world, even if it’s only one person’s world.

How does a man connected to his heart show up every day, not just when his team is down 5 points, with only a minute remaining? What does such a man look like?

1) He’s Deeply Patient

With himself. With others. With life.

When we’re connected to our hearts, we’re able to be patient with, and authentically love, life, ourselves and other people, even when they don’t do what we want them to do – which is almost always.

Woman Wearing "Tudung," or Headscarf

When we are connected with our hearts and life, we can easily cultivate patience

 

In the military, I was so disconnected from my heart that I hated life. I was imprisoned in my brain. Sex was my only escape. The day I left base for the last time, I headed for the open road with only a backpack and pent-up rage. Little did I know, I was also heading into the darkest night my soul has ever experienced.

That dark night waxed and waned for 12 years and involved angry women and drugs and heartbreak and financial ruin. I was always impatient for the rest of the world to change so I could finally feel good, and I acted out in countless ways to make it change. By its end, my ego had been gutted so profoundly, as I finally had to accept just how little I am in control of anything, or anyone, and just how messy life is; no matter what I do to keep it clean. With every smash against the rocks I took, every despairing night and furious girlfriend, the heavy armour surrounding my heart cracked and weakened, until I gradually discovered an abiding peace and laughter I had never felt in my body before.

“The wound is the place where the light enters you. ~ Rumi

When I finally emerged from that dark night, I found myself in a new reality that showed me we are all innocent in our ignorance. We are each doing the best we can, all the time, even when it doesn’t look that way. If we truly knew how to do things better, we would.

That one insight gave me access to an embodied patience with people, myself, with life, that I had never known; that no one ever taught me.

That insight was borne of a freshly opened heart.

“The wound is the place where the light enters you. ~ Rumi

“The wound is the place where the light enters you. ~ Rumi

“The wound is the place where the light enters you. ~ Rumi

Granted, my patience remains a work in progress, for my brain and my balls still constantly seek to assert their authority.

But my heart is no longer a slave to my brain or my balls. I can move powerfully towards my true heart’s desire – whether that be a woman or a trip to the tropics – with patience enough to allow life its surprise curve balls. Curve balls are half the fun, anyway.

That’s another way you can recognize a man of heart; he makes most things fun…

2) He Laughs Easily and Authentically

I didn’t really know laughter until I was well into my 30s. Oh, I laughed plenty before then. But I took myself, and life, so seriously that my laughter was shallow and intellectual. But I didn’t know that until the wisdom in my heart started showing me the wild beauty in all things.

Rainer Maria Rilke wrote:

“If your daily life seems poor, do not blame it; blame yourself that you are not poet enough to call forth its riches; for the Creator, there is no poverty.

My intellect has always been predisposed to lie to me, by telling me things are worse than they really are. My brain usually says I’ve got to work harder, be better, and do more just to survive; never mind thrive. It says the same about you. And my balls, well, they’re never satisfied for long.

It’s hard to fully let go and surrender to laughter when I believe I’m not yet good enough…or that you aren’t…or that life isn’t.

My heart, on the other hand, is perfectly content to enjoy this moment. It can find the innocence in most any situation, and it can laugh effortlessly at the crazy divine comedy that is life. The heart doesn’t laugh in shallow arrogance through a facade of “I’m better and smarter than you”.

True laughter comes from the heart

True laughter comes from the heart

 

A man connected to his heart knows we’re all made of the same stuff underneath the surface gloss. The laughter that erupts from that place is profound; divine. It’s like the sound of love tickling itself.

3) He’s Kind to the World

A man connected to his heart is kind to everyone. That doesn’t mean he likes everyone. It doesn’t mean he tolerates everyone. He might even put someone in jail if they prove to threaten the world he envisions. But he can always see the innocence that leads to ignorant, even awful, behavior.

A man connected to his heart can hold compassion for the worst, even as he locks the cell door.

I saw this in my relationships with women who acted in destructive ways, because they did not know how to effectively communicate their pain to me. Stuck in my head, I judged and fought them for their immature behavior, while ignoring the pain at their core.

With an open heart, I’m more able to stay kind with an intimate partner who’s acting out her pain.

And yes, like most things, it’s work in progress.

4) He’s Fully Present

I hear this all the time from women, that their men don’t seem to be present with them.

What does that even mean?

Being fully present is a full-body sport: it requires participation of the head, the heart, AND the balls. When a man lives in his head or his balls alone, his partner won’t feel his presence. One way it reveals itself is through the quality of his listening.

We can feel when a person is fully present with us

When I was trapped in the brain-ball matrix, I would only listen to a girlfriend with the singular intent of evaluating to respond. I wanted to keep our thoughts in agreement because that’s the only place I figured peace of mind – and sex – could happen. My attempt to intellectualize every argument, however, mostly created chaos.

When a man connected to his heart listens, he listens with his entire body (which includes his brain and his balls). He doesn’t just listen for a way into the outcome he wants. He listens with his whole body, for the deeper message beneath the words. He listens at the level of the heart, where the real truth often resides.

His partner can feel this – his presence – when he breathes deeply and listens with his whole body.

5) He’s Passionately Living His True Purpose

The work I did in the military felt completely out of alignment with my true purpose. I was miserable. The day I left, I instinctively knew to run fast and run far. Not from the military, but from living inauthentically.

The pain of that situation – where I had money, prestige, comfort, respect, and misery – left me with no choice but to seek my true purpose in life, wherever that journey would take me.

That’s why I went through such darkness.

A man on his path is a man of heart

A man on his path is a man of heart

 

To find my path, I had to break the stranglehold my brain and balls had on my heart. They didn’t surrender graciously.

A man connected to his heart lives the truth inside that heart, whatever it looks like. If he’s doing work he doesn’t love, he’s doing it for bigger reasons driven by his authentic heart; perhaps to take care of his family or serve his community.

In my case, after years of running from the imaginary security of a paycheck, in search of authentic work aligned with my heart’s desire, I finally found it in writing and coaching. I’m really good at both, and I make a meaningful difference in people’s lives every day.

But I would never have come this far if not for the immense power in my heart.

Source*

Related Topics:

Why Male Immune Cells are from Mars and Female Cells are from Venus*

U.K. Children as young as 4 being asked their Gender Option other than Male or Female*

The Disappearing Male*

Pistorius: The Hegemonic White Male*

Boys in Search of Manhood

A Tradition of Manhood

True Love is a ‘Verb’*

War Is a Racket*

Love Misplaced By Capitalism*

The Lynching of Hamza Yusuf*

The Lynching of Hamza Yusuf*

White American Muslim Leader Excoriated for Defending the United States, Law Enforcement, Criticizing Radical Political Islam, and Refusing to Blindly Back Black Lives Matter

By Hanan al-Harbi

Shaykh Hamza Yusuf is a scholar of Islam and a popular preacher who has helped disseminate traditional, mainstream, spiritual Islam, and actively opposed fundamentalism, literalism, and extremism. He is also an accomplished college administrator.

And although, like myself, he has many human shortcomings and is not above criticism, he deserves recognition for his service to Islam and Muslims. So, despite our differences, I speak truth and stand for justice so much so that I would not hesitate to defend Shaykh Hamza if he were subject to injustice. And that moment has come.

If the New Year is synonymous with resolutions, many Muslims evidently did not commit to avoid slander, libel, and defamation of character when responding to some of the comments that Shaykh Hamza Yusuf made at the Reviving the Islamic Spirit Conference in December of 2016.

The year ended, and the year began, with a storm of controversy that was supposedly spurred on by the observations made by the white American Sunni Muslim scholar on the Black Lives Matter movement and Radical Political Islam. It was a storm in a teacup that spoke more of the stereotypes and racism of the critics than the views of Hamza Yusuf. What exactly did the Shaykh say on December 23, 2016? I let him speak for himself:

“The United States is, in term of its laws, one of the least racist societies in the world. We have some of the best anti-discriminatory laws on the planet… We have between 15-18,000 homicides a year, 50 per cent are black on black crime… There are twice as many whites that have been shot by police but nobody ever shows those videos. It’s the assumption that the police are racist and it’s not always the case… I think it’s very dangerous to just broad stroke any police that shoots a black as immediately being considered a racist, sometimes these are African American police officers. The police aren’t all racist.”

Hamza Yusuf also added that:

“We should all be against any ideologies of supremacy of one people over another people, it’s completely antithetical to our religion but we have some of the worst racism in our own communities… the anti-Jewish rhetoric that you hear in the Islamic community is horrific… do you know what it’s like to be a Pakistani in a lot of the Gulf States or from India or from Kerala even worse? People talk about white privilege, what about Arab privilege over non-Arabs in the Middle East?”

He criticized Muslims who “have turned Islam into a political ideology.” He said that most of Islam has nothing to do with politics. He explained that groups like the Muslim Brotherhood, Hizb al-Tahrir and al-Qaedah were a reaction to political expression rooted in the corruption of Islamic doctrine. He also claimed that Yasir Qadhi was a source of division among Muslims.

In his unwarranted and unnecessary response to unmerited criticism, Shaykh Hamza Yusuf apologized for criticizing Qadhi, explained that he had no desire to belittle the struggle of African American people against racism, and asserted that he did not believe that the Muslim Brotherhood spawned al-Qaedah. What is more, he stressed that he did not want to see supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood persecuted for their political beliefs.

Shaykh Abdullah Hakim Quick responded by stating that:

“Muslim leaders in the Americas who do not recognize the systematic subjugation and continued suppression of black people in the West and do not speak clearly against the organized racism that is raising its head today should step down and keep their mouths shut!!! They do not represent Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) in their cowardice and should stop blaming black People and Native People for their weak family structure or drug addiction. Stop victimizing the victims. Is their [sic] no blood in our veins or is it cold water? Are Muslims attending conferences to be entertained or to seek guidance? May Allah raise up courageous leadership from our people and protect us from hypocrisy!!!”

Dr. Jonathan AC Brown said that:

“Muslims in America should stand with Black Lives Matter, as should anyone who has a problem with an absurd number of unarmed men being shot with impunity. Not only is this a clear justice issue, but Muslims suffer from similar problems, and many Muslims are black! Muslims who don’t have the bandwidth to be supportive on this issue should remain silent on it… In short, white men should let African Americans speak for themselves and support them. They probably shouldn’t offer their opinions on issues regarding the African American community. We can sit and insult the ‘Muslim Brotherhood,’ whatever that means, till we’re good and happy. But to use ‘the Muslim Brotherhood’ in the same sentence with ISIS, terrorism or extremism cannot be tolerated. It lends credence to the absurd policies advanced by the UAE/Sisi regime, which have led to the oppression, imprisoning, rape and torture of thousands in Egypt and elsewhere. In the U.S, and Europe, it advances the UAE/Islamophobe agenda of criminalizing mainstream Muslim organizations.”

Ustadh Ubaydullah Evans, ALIM’s first Scholar-in-Residence and Executive Director, asserted that:

“Shaykh Hamza’s commenting on black on black violence and the breakdown of the black family in connection with the value of black life and police brutality is unacceptable. Someone must explain to my Shaykh that the fact of white privilege precludes the possibility of his being able to make such comments with any integrity.”

Imam Suhaib Webb alleged that Shaykh Hamza Yusuf dismissed

“the Black Lives Matter movement, police brutality against blacks in America, the racial bias in the criminal justice system in the U.S., sentencing guidelines, prison terms and a few other issues that, as a white man, he should address with extreme care.”

Dr. Su’ad Abdul Khabeer, Sakina Hasib, and Hakeem Muhammad accused Shaykh Hamza of pathologizing black people. Many critics discredited Hamza Yusuf on the basis that he was “white” and even called into question his title of “Shaykh.” What is more, he was openly accused of being a racist and a bigot. Did he deserve to be dragged in the dust? Let me consider the comments that he made.

Shaykh Hamza Yusuf claimed that “The United States is, in term of its laws, one of the least racist societies in the world.” According to the World Value survey, the most racially intolerant countries in the world, in order, include India, Jordan, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Vietnam, Indonesia, South Korea, France, Turkey, Bulgaria, Algeria, Morocco, Mali, Zambia, Thailand, Malaysia, the Philippines, Bangladesh, and Hong Kong whereas the most tolerant countries include, in order, the United States, Canada, Brazil, Argentina, Colombia, Guatemala, Britain, Sweden, Norway, Latvia, Australia, and New Zealand. In a combined study of two surveys published by the Washington Post, the ten most racist countries in the world included, in order, India, Lebanon, Bahrain, Libya, Egypt, the Philippines, Kuwait, Palestine, South Africa, and South Korea. The Shaykh is also correct when he states that the US has “some of the best anti-discriminatory laws on the planet.”

Shaykh Hamza Yusuf never alleged that there was no racism in the United States. The country has a long and shameful history of racism, segregation, discrimination, and injustice towards all those who were not White Anglo-Saxon Protestants. First Nations, Africans, French Canadians, Hispanics, Asians, the Irish, Italians, Jews, Catholics, and Muslims have all historically suffered injustice in America. The same, however, can also be said for poor White Anglo-Saxon Protestants who have been exploited, marginalized, and treated like trash. The Shaykh is also perfectly cognizant that the judicial system is not always just and that the correctional system fails to correct anything.

The Shaykh, who is well-travelled and well-educated about social issues throughout the world, is not naïve, narrow-minded, and fixated on the United States. His comments were the product of a global outlook. For hyper-sensitive self-centred individuals to claim that Hamza Yusuf was trivializing or minimizing the reality of racism in the United States, and the Western world, is utterly unfair. He was focusing on the big picture and exposing double standards.

Although Mehdi Hasan was aggressively trying to corner him, in the impolite, uncouth, insolent and disrespectful fashion that was popularized by Fox News, Shaykh Hamza Yusuf attempted to redirect the conversation toward reality:

“We have between 15-18,000 homicides a year, 50 per cent are black on black crime… There are twice as many whites that have been shot by police but nobody ever shows those videos. It’s the assumption that the police are racist and it’s not always the case… I think it’s very dangerous to just broad stroke any police that shoots a black as immediately being considered a racist, sometimes these are African American police officers. The police aren’t all racist.”

African Americans represent 13.3% of the population of the United States. Nonetheless, they have been responsible for more than half of homicides for nearly 30 years. As Department of Justice statistics show, blacks committed 52% of murders between 1980 and 2008. Caucasian Americans, however, committed 45 % of homicides while composing 77% of the population.

Black Americans commit crimes at a rate that is 7 to 10 times higher than white Americans. What is more, data shows that 93% of blacks are murdered by other blacks. (Conversely, 83 % of white victims are murdered by other whites). So, if Shaykh Hamza can be criticized for one thing, it is for underestimating the magnitude of black-on-black crime.

In the 1940s and 1950s, the rate of black crime was lower even though racism was deeply entrenched and institutionalized. There is not always a direct correlation between poverty, racism, and crime. The rate of Caucasian crime did not increase significantly during the Great Depression. Although the Irish were impoverished and forced into starvation by British imperialists, there was no notable spike in criminality.

Most rural, and many urban, French Canadians were poor during English-domination in Canada; however, their rate of crime was never disproportionately high. Many people of the world are far poorer than African Americans, have fewer opportunities, and suffer from far greater levels of persecution in the Americas, Asia, and Africa, yet do not turn to crime.

Shaykh Hamza Yusuf is correct when he makes a correlation between black crime and the breakdown of the family structure. If most African American children in the 1960s were born to two-parent households, in 2013, over 72% of them were born out-of-wedlock. Consequently, “structural racism” cannot be exclusively blamed for the disintegration of the African American family.

Capitalism does not compel African American men to fornicate, produce, and abandon illegitimate off-spring. It is a question of choice. Lack of morals, lack of ethics, lack of proper parenting, and lack of paternal engagement are largely responsible for producing a materialistic, hedonistic, and self-destructive underclass of African American men. Black illegitimacy is not driven by white racism.

A major theme in the message of Malcolm X, perhaps the greatest Muslim leader this country has produced, to the black community was: “Clean up your own back yard.” Black Americans need to stop using colour as a crutch, perpetuating the blame game, and hold themselves accountable. White supremacy has been deeply damaging to people of colour. The scars of slavery remain. And racism continues to rear its ugly head. However, African Americans are ultimately responsible for their own destiny. While it is a sin to oppress, it is a greater also a sin to remain oppressed when real steps toward self-liberation can be taken.

There is no doubt that African Americans have been oppressed. However, there is no doubt that certain African Americans consciously continue to oppress themselves. In short, some have failed to break the psychological chains of slavery. They need to show some pride and rise-up in righteous reform. Many have done so, and many have succeeded. Islam has specifically been a source of salvation for millions of African Americans.

Although it is almost entirely ignored by both the mass media and activists, Native Americans are the most likely to be killed by cops. African Americans come in second. Hispanics come in third. And Caucasians come in fourth. And while Americans of indigenous and African ancestry are shot at a rate that is 2.5 to 3% higher than Caucasian Americans, whites are also murdered at an alarming rate. In fact, American police officers kill more people in days than most other countries kill in years.

Shaykh Hamza Yusuf was not minimizing the murder of black men by police officers of all races, he was placing it in the broader context of police violence and brutality. And while racism certainly plays a critical factor in some cases, poor hiring practices and poor training also play a major role in how the police handle certain situations. Many police officers are not properly trained in conflict resolution, de-escalation, crisis management, mental health issues, psychological intervention, and non-lethal modes of subduing subjects.

As a man with a sense of justice and balance, Shaykh Hamza refused to stereotype all law enforcement officers. As he said straight out: “The police aren’t all racist.” While it cannot be denied that African American men are murdered by police officers at a disproportionate rate, it cannot be denied that African American men commit violent crimes at a disproportionate rate and murder police officers at a disproportionate rate.

When 43% of cop killers are African Americans, per FBI statistics, it should come as no surprise that some police officers fear for their lives when confronting black suspects. The idiotic constitutional right to bear arms, the sheer stupidity of conceal and carry laws, the massive supply of illegal weapons, and the culture of violence that dominates the media, cause police officers to be overly anxious and too quick to click the trigger. For some of them, it is better to shoot first than to get shot. Unfortunately, the fear of police on the part of African American men, the natural result of poor practices in law enforcement, produces the same effect. The situation is dangerous and volatile and can only be resolved by means of a concerted and comprehensive strategy.

Despite the allegations of Shaykh Abdullah Hakim Quick, Shaykh Hamza Yusuf is well-aware of the subjugation and suppression of African Americans in the West and the reality of racism. Hence, calling Shaykh Hamza a coward and a hypocrite who does not represent the Messenger of Allah is truly unbecoming of a scholar.

As for accusing Shaykh Hamza of pathologizing black people, as done by Dr. Su’ad Abdul Khabeer, Sakina Hasib, and Hakeem Muhammad, this is simply slanderous, libellous, and scandalous.

Ubaydullah Evans describes black pathology as “the idea that black people are inherently incapable of thinking and behaving correctly and it is often used to explain away systemic racism.” While I may not agree with all his views and the manner he formulates them, I am quite confident that Shaykh Hamza does not believe that blacks are intellectually and morally inferior by nature.

The Shaykh was not generalizing. The Shaykh was not victim-blaming with the objective of trivializing the reality of racism and its ravages. He was simply promoting good, prohibiting evil, and reminding people that God does not change the condition of a people unless they change what is in themselves (Qur’an: 13:11).

As far as Evans is concerned, the accomplishments of Hamza Yusuf are inconsequential for, as he states, “he-is-still-white.” If white people cannot be objective due to their whiteness than black people cannot be objective due to their blackness. It is ironic that the people who accuse Shaykh Hamza of stereotyping blacks are themselves guilty of stereotyping whites.

While it is true that some white Americans blame disadvantaged blacks for the condition in which they find themselves, the same cannot be said of Hamza Yusuf. If anything, the Shaykh is concerned with the plight of African Americans and sincerely concerned about their condition.

The language used by Shaykh Hamza Yusuf is no different than the language used by W.D. Fard, Elijah Muhammad, and Malcolm X. Identifying symptoms does not imply that one ignores the underlying disease. Some African Americans are culturally sick (in the same way that some Caucasian Americans are culturally sick). Although history, upbringing, and environment can predispose people to certain diseases, their life-choices are also a significant contributing factor.

Slavery, racism, segregation, and discrimination have spread socio-political, economic, moral, and ethical illness among some African Americans. The system has much to blame. However, people affected by epidemics are also responsible for perpetuating them. If one opts to live a life of filth, it is pointless to blame germs for one’s poor health. America has oppressed many; however, many people have overcome oppression, Jewish Americans being the foremost example.

The mere fact that one is an Amerindian, for example, does not mean that one is condemned to repeat the cycle of poverty, abuse, and addiction. Opportunities may not be entirely equal; however, one would be hard pressed to find a country that offers more opportunities than the United States of America. Immigrants and refugees of all origins have arrived by millions over the centuries with nothing more than the clothes on their backs; however, with hard work, study, diligence, and determination, they achieved the American dream. In some cases, they succeeded in one generation. In others, it took several generations; however, they made the necessary sacrifices to ensure the long-term success of their descendants.

Dr. Jonathan AC Brown is correct that Muslims are required to stand for social justice. However, his claim that Shaykh Hamza is not supportive of the struggle of African Americans is not sound. To claim that whites cannot express their opinions on issues pertaining to blacks is as preposterous as claiming that blacks cannot express their opinions on issues pertaining to whites. And while Muslims are expected to support the struggles of the oppressed, they are under no obligation to support any specific movement especially when the so-called cure is worse than the disease. In short, they should be guided by their conscience.

BLM is unapologetically black. It affirms diversity, restorative justice, loving engagement, intergenerationality, globalism, black families, black villages, black women, collective value, and empathy. It also happens to be transgender affirming and queer affirming and is “committed to disrupting the Western-prescribed nuclear family.”

The founders of Black Lives Matter include Alicia Garza, a queer woman whose spouse is transgendered; Patrisse Cullors, another queer; and Opal Tometi, a Nigerian-American woman who explained in an interview with The Nation that “we are diligently uplifting black trans women and so the work on the ground in many places does reflect that.”

If Dr. Jonathan AC Brown, a white American Muslim academic and outspoken supporter of gay marriage and the Muslim Brotherhood sees no contradiction between LGBTQ activism and Radical Islamism, he is also ironically an apologist for slavery and sexual assault.

In fact, on February 7th, 2017, Professor Brown delivered a lecture at Georgetown University titled “Islam and the Problem of Slavery” in which he affirmed that “I don’t think it’s morally evil to own somebody” and “[f]or most of human history, human beings have not thought of consent as the essential feature of morally correct sexual activity.” If this man is a moderate, what can we expect of the extremists?

When asked about “wrongs done by Arabs to other people,” Dr. Brown aggressively asserted that “the Prophet of God had slaves. He had slaves. There’s no denying that. Was he — are you more morally mature than the Prophet of God? No, you’re not.” In reality, rather than enslave, the Prophet Muhammad freed slaves. Anyone seeking clarity on this subject should read “An Islamic Response to ISIS Revival of Slavery” by Imam Abdul-Malik Mujahid (https://www.soundvision.com/article/an-islamic-response-to-isis-revival-of-slavery).

The version of Islam presented by Professor Brown is not that of the Prophet Muhammad: it is that of the Umayyads and the ‘Abbasids; it is the Islam of Ibn Taymiyyah, Muhammad ibn ‘Abd al-Wahhab, the Muslim Brotherhood, the Taliban, Hamas, Islamic Jihad, al-Qaedah, al-Shabab, Boko Haram, al-Nusrah, and ISIS. It is not Muhammadan Islam but the “Islam” of the enemies of Muhammad who usurped power after his passing.

The fact that Brown is the Director of the Prince Alwaleed bin Talal Centre for Muslim-Christian Understanding, a Saudi Arabian funded program, should not be lost on anyone. It suffices to say that Liberal degenerates and Islamist extremists make strange bedfellows.

According to Black Lives Matter, “Black people are intentionally left powerless at the hands of the state”… and “Black lives are deprived of … basic human rights and dignity.” If this is how BLM supporters feel, I suggest they study the history of Africa, the Middle East, or Asia to get a better appreciation of civil and human rights in the United States of America.

It was white men who proposed that all men were created equal. It was white men who eventually abolished slavery while African, Arab, and Asian Muslim leaders objected, insisting, in many cases, on continuing the practice well into the 20th century. It was white men who created a country, a constitution, and laws that provide blacks, and all other citizens, with unparalleled rights and freedoms. Muslims stand with the oppressed but they must also stand for truth.

Black Lives Matter claims that “Black poverty and genocide is state violence.” BLM supporters should study the English language to understand that “genocide” is the attempt to physically exterminate members of a given group. Poverty is not genocide.

Black Lives Matter claims that the fact that 2.8 million black people are locked in cages in this country is state violence. In reality, there are approximately 2.3 million incarcerated criminals in the United States; 1 million of whom are African American. If whites are 64% of the American population, they represent 39% of prisoners. If blacks are 13% of the American population, they represent 40% of prisoners.

Imprisoning black criminals is no more state violence than imprisoning white criminals. The fact that blacks are given longer sentences for the same crimes as whites — entirely apart from the fact that they commit more crimes per capita – is indeed a form of “state violence.” Although African Americans tend to serve disproportionately longer sentences when compared to Caucasian Americans, it is delusional to describe them as “political prisoners.” Drug dealers, robbers, rapists, and murderers are not prisoners of conscience.

[ Editor’s Note: This is a long time held bogus contention, the racial disparity. It is done in the usual way that any psyops construct would use. You just only use the parts of the story that support where you want to go, and ignore everything else. Here the deal in on phrase, “enhanced sentencing guidelines”, that have been around for a long time.

This allows judges, usually on the federal level, to a sentence for a crime that has a range of imprisonment, say “25 years to life” for drug dealing. How much time a convicted felon gets is heavily influenced on the past criminal record, where unfortunately many black criminals excel, especially gang-members and those in the drug business when they have a string of prior convictions.

Another example I remember from when California passed a statue where a third violent felony conviction would get you a life sentence. This was something designed to address the continued crimes done by “habitual offenders” when let out went back to their old ways. And yes, when they were not let go the violent felony crimes rates improved.

And lastly, most of the minority crimes numbers are pushed by the stats from black and hispanic young gang members. There are no white gangs of any consequence anymore other than some bikers. All of this I have just covered is completely airbrushed out of the history, and there is more Jim W. Dean ]

Many of the problems attributed to race by Black Lives Matter are really issues of class. The rate of criminality among poor whites is comparable to that among poor blacks. Address the issue of poverty, improve education, and increase opportunities among African Americans, and the level of crime will go down accordingly. Middle and upper-middle class African Americans do not commit any more crimes than middle and-upper middle class Caucasians.

The problems in question are not limited to blacks or whites. They impact society as a whole. Incarceration trends are alarming. Racial disparities in sentencing are disquieting. And while contributing factors need to be considered, there is a serious need for radical criminal justice reform in the United States. All Americans suffer as a result of systemic shortcomings. All Americans suffers from the injustices perpetuated by Capitalism.

 

Black Lives Matter claims that black women, children, and families are the victims of relentless state violence; that Black queer and trans folks bear a unique burden from a hetero-patriarchal society that disposes of them like garbage and simultaneously fetishizes them and profits from them; that “500,000 Black people in the U.S. are undocumented immigrants and relegated to the shadows;” that “Black girls are used as negotiating chips during times of conflict and war;” and that blacks living with disabilities and different abilities bear the burden of state sponsored Darwinian experiments that attempt to squeeze them into boxes of normality defined by white supremacy.

The allegations made by Black Lives Matters are as deluded as they are demented. The philosophy of BLM is best described as political insanity and moral depravity. Most rational, fact-based, intellectually-minded readers would disagree with both the problems described and the solutions proposed. Black women, children, and families are not perpetually persecuted in the United States. Although 80% of LBBTQ murder victims are minorities, an argument can be made that Queer and trans folks of all colours are more oppressed by violent macho homophobic black male society than by white “hetero-patriarchal society.”

While it is confirmed that there are more than 400,000 illegal black immigrants in the United States, it is preposterous to blame the State for a plight they chose to impose on themselves when they could have applied to immigrate legally or seek refugee status. It is like the Moroccan saying, “He hit me and then he cried.” These illegal aliens break U.S. immigration law and then blame the U.S. Moreover, illegal workers depress wages and hurts job prospects for African American men. According to Peter Kirsanow, a US Civil Rights Commissioner, “Black males are more likely to experience competition from illegal immigrants.”

As for “Black girls … used as negotiating chips during times of conflict and war,” what on earth does that have to do with the United States? Those are crimes committed by black Africans against black Africans. What is more, women of all colours are victimized during war. Unfortunately, Black Lives Matter cannot see beyond the surface. They care only about colour and blame all evils on whites without given them credit of any kind for their accomplishments. Rather than speak of white supremacy, we should speak of black envy of white excellence.

As for the claim that the State subjects disabled African Americans to “Darwinian experiments,” these are the words of paranoid people who suffer from serious delusions. There is no doubt that scientific experiments were conducted on a small number of African Americans without their consent in the 20th century; however, similar experiments were also conducted on American Indians, Caucasian Americans, and other communities.

Moreover, anyone who claims that black lives are “systematically and intentionally targeted for demise” in the United States requires a psychological assessment. America is not committing genocide against African Americans. At the very most, a segment of African American men are destroying themselves and their communities through self-destructive behaviour.

Simply because some of its overarching goals are sound does not mean that Black Lives Matter should be blindly and uncritically supported by Muslims. In fact, the movement has been accused of racism and violence by people of all colours. BLM activists openly incite violence against law enforcement officers. BLM activists openly express racist anti-white sentiments.

Yusra Khogali, a co-founder of Black Lives, Toronto, Canada, wrote that “white skin is sub-human,” that “white people are recessive genetic defects.” She even tweeted a prayer in which she asked Allah to keep her from killing white people.

Liberals, however, have responded to such hate speech by stating that it was perfectly justifiable when placed in the context of “oppression.” What oppression? Canada did not play a part in the slave-trade. Canada has never been an imperial power. Canada was a refuge for African Americans who escaped from slavery. It is evident that racist bigots like Yusra Khogali live in alternate universes, spewing venom in echo chambers of hatred, prejudice, and stereotypes.

A simple search of social media reveals a long litany of violently racist rants made by BLM leaders and followers who encourage robbery, rape, and white genocide. Consequently, it comes as no surprise that many political players, both domestic and international, have described Black Lives Matter as an anti-white, racist, terrorist organization.

Muslims should indeed be opposed to anti-black racism; however, they should also be opposed to anti-white racism unless, of course, they are idiotic enough to believe the Zuckerberg-sponsored Google claim that black people cannot be racist because racism requires power and privilege. This same argument is used by BLM supporters who argue that the sexual assault of white women by black men cannot be described as rape since rape requires power and privilege.

The supporters of Black Lives Matter include Muslims who now find themselves without domestic patronage. They are those who sided with Hillary and the Democrats out of fear of Trump. They are the same ones who earlier made an unholy connection with Obama, which had as its subtext a tacit tolerance for ISIS, or at least a lack of any motivation to vigorously denounce the Takfiris, since it must have been known that Obama and/or the CIA were to a certain degree supporting them. The forces who covertly brought us ISIS presented a Liberal face in this country.

The notion that Black Lives Matter is a true grassroots liberation movement like the Civil Rights Movement was, not a case of social engineering by Liberal ideologues and funding-sources, is something the Liberals believe in religiously. So, it comes as no surprise that those Muslims who seek Black Lives Matter as a true expression of Black liberation also see the Muslim Brotherhood in the same way. In the same way that Black Lives Matter presents itself as liberation movement, the Muslim Brotherhood presented themselves as democratic freedom fighters while, at the same time, they were engaged in burning Coptic Churches, sexually assaulting women on the streets, and murdering Shiite scholars. Liberals have swallowed this duplicity hook, line, and sinker.

The Black Lives Matter movement is not a popular uprising. It is the beneficiary of over 100 million dollars in funding from liberal foundations, including, $33 million dollars in grants from George Soros through his Open Society Foundation. Despite the “good intentions” of some of its supporters — blacks, whites, Hispanics, Muslims, immigrants, and women — Black Lives Matter overtly espouses racist and violent views and employs subversive street thugs and professional provocateurs for the benefit of billionaire globalists.

Black Lives Matter has reduced an ideological, socio-political, philosophical, and economic conflict of world proportion to a racial conflict that pits blacks against whites. The real conflict, however, is between the 99% and the 1 percenters, between Humanity and Inhumanity, between God and the Devil, between the overwhelming population of the world of all races and religions and the secular globalist Satanists who hoard virtually all the wealth in the world. It is a battle of belief: a war of morals and values.

The leaders of BLM embody all the evils of the New World Order. If some morally-damaged and ethically-challenged “Muslims” wish to march behind Alicia Garza, Patrisse Cullors, Opal Tometi, and Yusra Khogali, they can follow them all the ways to the depths of Hell. As for myself, I will follow in the footsteps of the Prophet Muhammad for the lawful and the prohibited apply until the ends of times.

Crescent International, however, had the audacity to claim that “For someone in Hamza Yusuf’s position to belittle the Black Lives Matter movement is not only demeaning and racist, it is completely antithetical to the values of Islam and the Sunnah of the noble Messenger.” Other Muslims activists have asserted that “Black Lives Matters is our movement.” Such people are pawns of the global elites.

Although many Muslims are willing to leap like lemmings, many Christians, both African American and otherwise, have not been deceived by the dark side of Black Lives Matter. And while they oppose prejudice and police brutality, they refuse to cast their lot with gangs of criminals, rapists, racists, globalists, secularists, communists, anarchists, Islamists, abortionists, man-hating feminazis, and LGBTQ activists.

As for criticizing the Muslim Brotherhood, a movement with Freemasonic foundations that received funding from the British, many sober-minded scholars consider it more palatable than blindly defending them and thereby sharing in their shortcomings and sins. Scholars can view the world scene from above, analyzing all parties, without necessarily taking sides. Being critical of the Muslim Brotherhood does not imply that one is supportive of Sisi.

As uncomfortable as it made some Muslims feel, Shaykh Hamza Yusuf also made another poignant point:

“We should all be against any ideologies of supremacy of one people over another people, it’s completely antithetical to our religion but we have some of the worst racism in our own communities… the anti-Jewish rhetoric that you hear in the Islamic community is horrific… do you know what it’s like to be a Pakistani in a lot of the Gulf States or from India or from Kerala even worse? People talk about white privilege, what about Arab privilege over non-Arabs in the Middle East?

Many Muslims are fond of blaming others. Blame the West! Blame the Jews! Although the West is to blame for certain wrongs and Israel is to blame for certain wrongs, Muslims should stop simply pointing the finger and start blaming themselves. Am I victim shaming? Absolutely not. I am holding people accountable for their own action or inaction.

Racism, discrimination, prejudice, sexism, classism, bias, stereotypes, and misogyny are present, to varying degrees, in many Muslim communities. It comes across as acutely hypocritical for Muslim immigrants to criticize the shortcomings of the West without also criticizing the shortcomings of their countries of origin. What’s good for the goose is good for the gander. Many Muslims can dish it out criticism but they clearly cannot take criticism.

As for hurling around accusations of “white privilege,” it is quite often a manifestation of reverse racism employed by envious and indolent individuals who wish to blame their failures on others. Are white people privileged? Some of them are: economically, socially, and educationally. Are all Caucasians the beneficiaries of “white privilege?” Certainly not. Economically-disadvantaged whites and working class whites may have some advantages over African-Americans who suffer from the same challenges, however, they do not get a free pass. In most cases, white success is not privilege: it is earned.

Apart from the globalist elite, all human beings are victims of the savage capitalistic system. In fact, it thrives by turning blacks against whites, whites against blacks, Muslims against Muslims, and non-Muslims against Muslims. The very concept of “white privilege” has been called into question by academics as a racist construct that confounds colour with social class. Although I would certainly not encourage Muslims to side with the extreme right-wing, they should seriously reconsider siding with radical leftist liberals and secularists and their degenerate social agenda.

As for his assertion that Islamists have turned Islam into a political ideology, Shaykh Hamza Yusuf is absolutely in the right. He has enough knowledge and sense of history to recognize that “Islamism” is not Islam; it is a gross overemphasis on the political components of Islam.

Shaykh Hamza Yusuf knows full well that politics play an important role in Islam and that the quest for social justice is at the centre of the faith; however, he also recognizes that the heart of Islam is spiritual. He knows, as any scholar does, that most of Islam revolves around moral and ethical development as opposed to the struggle for political power. He understands that Islam is to be built bottom up and that Allah does not change he condition of a people until they change what is in themselves.

Islam did not start with a State: it started with personal development and the quest for social justice. It was only after he built bona fide believers that the Prophet set out to establish a physical government. And despite Evans claims to the contrary, the Messenger of Allah did admonish the oppressed for their sins by promoting the good and forbidding the wrong.

Shaykh Hamza Yusuf is perfectly justified to criticize groups such as the Muslim Brotherhood, Hizb al-Tahrir, and al-Qaedah. At the same time, he is certainly cognizant that there is a huge difference between the Ikhwan al-Muslimin and Daesh. If Mehdi Hasan had sufficiently good manners and etiquette, I am convinced that Shaykh Hamza could have articulated his case more clearly. Unfortunately, and thankfully, the Shaykh does not speak in sound-bytes.

The Muslim Brotherhood may be “moderate” when compared to the likes of ISIS, but so are al-Qaedah and al-Nusra; however, there is no denying that many Ikhwanis have filled the ranks of ISIS in Libya, Tunisia, Egypt, Syria, and Iraq. There is no denying that the Ikhwan al-Muslimin legitimized the excommunication of Muslims in modern times. And there is no denying that Ayman al-Zawahiri, Osama ben Laden, and Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi are all the excrement of the Muslim Brotherhood.

The Muslim Brotherhood can be compared to marijuana, al-Qaedah to crack cocaine, and ISIS to meth. However, there is no denying that Salafism, in even its moderate forms, is the gateway drug to the most brutal, barbaric, and Satanic forms of Takfirism.

Should association with the Muslim Brotherhood be criminalized? Not any more than association with the Democratic and Republican Parties should be. (By the same token, criminal actions by members of any of these groups should not be ignored). Islamist movements form a spectrum ranging from relatively mild and benign social activists to straight-out psychopaths. Persecuting more moderate Islamists will only push people into the camp of the most extreme of extremists.

And rather than prosecuting partisans of Islamist groups based on guilt by association, how about going after those who created them in the first place? Whether it is the Muslim Brotherhood, the Afghan Mujahidin, the Taliban, al-Qaedah, Hamas, the GIA, al-Nusrah or ISIS, all so-called “Radical Islamists” and “Muslim” terrorists have received support from the enemies of Islam and their allies.

As for Yasir Qadhi, since when did he become infallible and unassailable? He is a man of no academic or scholarly importance with a long history of supporting Salafism and making inflammatory statements about Shiites. A cause of conflict and division among Muslims? You are damn right that he is.

Like all human beings, Shaykh Hamza Yusuf has no shortage of flaws. For some, he comes across as arrogant. For others, he has the warmth of a cactus. Be that as it may, the man is certainly not a racist, a bigot, or an unconscious and unavowed white supremacist. If he can be blamed for anything it is with surrounding himself with snakes for decades, false friends and hypocritical colleagues who turned on him treacherously like a pack of hyenas instead of engaging in dignified damage control and duly-deserved defense. And Allah knows best.

Source*

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