Blended duality: Muslim and American?

( – As the tenth anniversary of the September attacks passed us, the much re-formed Muslim identity in America continues to search for itself a place in an imbalanced world. It is a world that says faith and country should coalesce into a culturally accepted manifestation of religion. Inevitably, a secular world that most Muslim Americans feel obliged to be enslaved in.While the world watches the revolutions taking place around the Muslim lands, one can’t help but feel the inconsistency in the doctrine of the ‘moderate’ Muslims in America. 

It wasn’t long ago that they were inherently opposed to taking up such antagonistic stances against any status quo. Life for the Muslim Americans really meant struggle without sacrifice, preferring an enemy’s ballot box to receiving his bullet. But because their own kind have achieved major stripes of success back home – namely, an end to the fear of tyrants – the Muslim American community felt the need to show that open support for them.

A new way forward? If truth be told, it’s more like they have found themselves deeper in the Muslim American dilemma grave which they’ve dug up for themselves. Earlier this month, the BBC ran a two part segment entitled, “American Muslim” which displayed the distance Muslims have gone in letting go of their religion and the efforts they’ve made in proudly exhibiting that. All of that trouble for nothing really.The right wing is on the rise in the political sphere and is not planning on building any bridges with the Muslim community; in fact, they only intend to make matters worse for them. And everyone knows that getting into the upper echelons of government as a traditional practicing Muslim is troublesome as it will never extinguish the suspicions and anger surrounding those who reject the Muslim faith. Even some of the most highly educated are no exception. This racial culture exists in every rank and file of the American civil population. 

In view of the fact that the Muslim Americans are an inexperienced and impressionable community that doesn’t learn from its early history in the Muslim lands, it’s needless to say that it will continue to be in an identity predicament much like a midlife crisis. Much of the American Islam is fashioned by how the Muslims view themselves by the outsiders. It has even come to the point where scholars produce fatâwâ in favor of the American army so that a Muslim would be unable to penetrate it from within. 

This is on account of their fear of living a difficult life; changing the religion thus appeared as a less formidable alternative for them. The BBC documentary concluded by showing that the duality of being Muslim and American is feasible by quoting Congressman Keith Ellison as saying that if a five year old Muslim dreamt of becoming president, that shouldn’t be a problem. Apparently, it was said in defense of everyone’s right in America to be as they wish and that a person’s religious choice should not be the determining factor in whether or not that dream can come true. The problem with this is that people like Keith are trying to erase that line – that is, the boundary set by Allah – between ĥalâl and ĥarâm, and as a result between Islam and kufr. Although not all ‘moderate’ Muslims may agree with Keith on every issue, they support the fundaments of erasing that very line nonetheless. The implication of this is that it runs into a multitude of problems and clashes with the Kitâb and Sunnah. 

For example, even though Allah says it’s a necessity to rule by shari`ah, it is entirely irrelevant to these people to judge by His law. Becoming one of the “fâsiqun,” “dhâlimun” and “kâfirun” (as is stated in Șurah al- Mâ’idah) seemingly doesn’t cause much worry to these Muslims. There are countless of examples of this subtle attitude of, “I don’t care what God says; I’m a Muslim American,” found not only in ordinary Muslims but in their organizations, imam’s and leaders. When the layers are peeled off one by one, it comes down to Muslims throwing the Qur’an behind their backs similar to the way Allah described the Jews in Șurah al-Jum`ah. To say one is proud of being American is not merely a cultural declaration but one of allegiance. 

With that said, are they proud of how the American heritage commenced with the slaughter of the Native Americans? Are they proud of having a ribâ-based economy that makes the rich richer and poor poorer and exploits the wider world, especially the LDCs (Less Developed Countries) through some of its major corporations? Are they proud of associating themselves with a nation that continues to maim and kill the ummah around the world both directly and indirectly? 

Are they proud of paying taxes that are converted into bullets and missiles that penetrate the bodies and homes of the downtrodden Palestinian Muslims? Or are they proud of being American because being one welcomes cowardice and hiding one’s head under the sand is conventional behavior while the real problems exasperate throughout the Muslim lands? To be a Muslim is one thing while to be an American is another. To be the latter is to undertake what Allah detests and to overlook the religious texts for the sake of creation. 

The mujahidin that have come from America have been exceptional role models for the rest of the ummah there. They risked their lives for a greater cause, evocative of the transition of the Șaĥâba’s lives in their rejection of the Quraysh’s leadership for the favorable acceptance of Muhammad’s صلى الله عليه وسلم guidance. They became landless for the sake of fighting for the construction of an Islamic one.












by: Shamir Khan

source: Ispire magazine issue 8



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