Assalamu Alaikum Wa Rahmatullahi Wa Barakatuhu.
I am pleased to announce the end of my New York campaign. It's been fun, and Alhamdulillah, ALL the khutbahs in the Big Apple have been worth listening to. The last Jummah I attended was a couple hours ago at the NYU Islamic Center. They had a nice little room on campus, couldn't tell if it was a permanent spot, but it definitely felt like praying in a university. All the tell tale signs were there. People loitering outside while Qur'an is being recited inside. Shoes galore. Brothas and sistas trying not to bump into each other while stealing subtle glances at one another. (Yeah I saw that pink hijabi chick wink at the brotha in front of me, good for him, good for him). Not to mention that you had all the typical characters.
The Usual Suspects
- White Convert Brotha - He is trying WAY too hard, has the longest beard, sitting dead center in the first row, looks nerdy as hell and has no game with the ladies.
- Shameless Ankle Revealing Brotha - Typically a Desi and a FOB, has a scraggly beard, smells funny but is probably really intelligent. Also has no game with the ladies.
- Gangsta Wannabe Brotha - Wearing them ridiculous oversized baseball caps, all crooked and shi... Pencil thin douchebag beard. Walking around and looking in different directions like a confused pigeon. Trying to look "hard."
- Arab Wannabe Brotha - This goes for Arabs too, but mostly Desis, that Thowb it out. I call it "Islamic Peacocking" trying to show everyone how UNBELIEVABLY Muslim you are by dressing as "Arab" as possible. Please... I've seen it all... and all of it looks ridiculous.
- Metro Brotha - This ain't bad, this is actually normal, so long as he's not wearing a fedora (for goodness sake) or anything else that is unnecessary, just wear some nice dress pants, a dress shirt and a coat, you good to go.
Enough joking, ready for a khutbah? Well keep reading!
I bear witness to Allah to His might and glory. I bear witness that Muhammad (S) is His final messenger.
It is said that in the early years of Islam the situation was really bad for Muslims. They were treated harshly, men and women were abused and beaten, people lost their lives.
Then certain people began to accept Islam, such as Hamza (R) and Umar (R), and the Meccans now had to respond differently.
The Meccans had to make a deal with the Muslims after all that happened in Madina. How did the Muslims come back to take Mecca? It took patience.
The community that exists today that has people coming from different cultures and continents and eating different foods and speaking different languages. We find ourselves in a place today that there is no misfortune for us, but our brothers and sisters in India and Bangladesh are suffering. In Bangladesh the brothers and sisters had to attend Jummah with heavy military presence. How was their Jummah experience today?
You build something and have patience to see something come forth beyond you. Individuals build communities. It was a reality for the Prophet (S) and it is reality for us today.
You are the people that can make a benefit to society. You have the degrees and real world experience. Sometimes you can't do it as an individual though. You lay down the framework and foundation and have the patience to know that this will last for decades. Beyond our time. Other religious groups are doing this, we are not.
I was at a U.S. Housing Department (might have mis-noted what the khatib actually said) meeting, there was 10 of us who sat at the table. The Chair spoke to the people present, Christians, Sikhs, Bhuddists, they began to explain how 3000 churches helped with the aftermath of Sandy, Hindus spents tens of thousands of dollars distributing food, Sikhs provided clothing. The bishop next to me said his group would ensure housing for those that needed it.
I thought, what do we bring to this conversation? How is your being a Muslim bringing benefit to anyone?
The most remarkable person there was a man of Indian background, a Hindu, he is a business man. He established a mechanism that allows people from his community to help those affected by natural disasters.
Why can't we do this? Scholarship is not the only form of leadership. There are other ways. I'm not saying that scholarship is bad or that it's not a good form of leadership.
Harun al Rashid, one of the great Khalifas, had brought scholars to translate Arabic documents into Greek, Latin, even Sanskrit, and he made a library and and it was known as Bayt ul Hikmah (House of Wisdom). The next khalifa expanded it. It became one of the most remarkable institutions in the history of Islam. What do we learn from this, building something that is long lasting?
The caliphs were not the writers or translators, but they had the ability to bring talented people together to bring benefit to all humanity.
Many of you have that ability. How will you use your talent? How will you use your work experience to make society better? We should go out and build something with patience. The Prophet did this, can you understand what he endured during his first year of revelation? Not forgetting the multitude of hardships he faced in the following years.
He didn't stop, he kept going, he has the patience to deal with it and understand there is something good and it it is worth building upon. It took him over two decades to get to the point he was waiting for.
I will not be the one to build a domestic violence shelter, a clinic, a political advocacy group, because I do not have the skill set to do this, but you do, you must build these for the community. We are being called to the table but are not showing the right people. We need to do this.
We can come together and start small, after a year we see its growth, after 5 years more growth, then it becomes sustainable in 10 years.
Or we could stay stuck in the same mentality of only building mosques and a couple years later building a school.
How will you use your Islam? You don't have to leave your job, just put in an hour or two every month into meaningful conversation. Then when you are ready to build something, build it.
I know a brother who took 30 years to memeorize Qur'an, but he did it and no one can take that away from him.
Build something today and see it grow tomorrow.
Put your trust in Allah, tie your camel and go out and do it.
May Allah guide us protect us all. Ameen.
I totally agree with him, however, it's high time Muslims stopped thinking about themselves and really started looking out for everyone around them. But let's not dismiss the multitude of organizations already doing this. There are many Muslim organizations already actively engaged in community help and outreach, that is not focused on whether or not the person is Muslim. But in any case, there definitely needs to be more of it.
I am utterly relieved that I did not really come across any Salafi or Wahabi ideology at any of the mosques in Manhattan. I mean, where I prayed at today was just a few blocks away from Ground Zero.
Haha, speaking of Ground Zero, I wanted to go to that Park 51 place of Imam Faisal Abdal Rauf, so while googling the location, I came across this article.
Did you read it? I highly suggest you do. I don't know how valid the criticism is, but if it's indeed true, I am not surprised... Wow... you had to do it with a Muslim community center that's adjacent to Ground Zero too... Brilliant. Way to honor the Sunnah of the Prophet (S) by spending lavishly on yourselves using money that was intended to better the conditions of all the Muslims and Non-Muslims in New York City, not just you and your wife...
We not only lack community consideration, we also lack tact. Let's take it one step at a time folks.
The khatib was speaking about setting up all these community services, but the brothas in the jama'a today couldn't even form straight lines that were spaced well apart from one another during the prayer. People were praying on top of each other, some dude's foot was in my hair... come on now...
Lord help us.
God bless you all.