The ‘Sharing of Ramadan’??…Imam Luqman Ahmed

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CAIR’s ‘Sharing Ramadan’ Campaign: Well intended? Maybe. Bad Idea? Definately!
Reprinted from The Lotus Tree Blog of Imam Abu Laith Luqman Ahmed
Please visit Imam Luqman’s blog for more interesting articles about Islam in America!

The national campaign suggested by the Council on American Islamic Relations [CAIR] to “Share Ramadan”, although perhaps well intended, is ill-conceived, misleading, and quite frankly, borders upon sacrilege. The concern of some American Muslims about the increase in anti-Muslim and anti-Islamic sentiment in America is, understandable. Albeit overblown and hyperbolic, nevertheless, it is a legitimate concern. However, sharing Ramadan, inviting people to fast for a day, sprucing up our behavior for the benefit of the media, or thinking that a non-Muslim will somehow vicariously experience what a believing Muslim feels when he or she breaks their fast, will do little to stem the rising tide of Islamophobia or change public opinion about Islam and Muslims except to demonstrate the degree of ostentation (riyaa) which we are willing to embark upon to get someone to like us. It gives the impression that we are a disingenuous and desperate people. Such actions breed more contempt and suspicion rather than sympathy, or a warm and fuzzy feeling towards Muslims.

Ever since 9/11, American Muslims have been on the defensive, and more often than not, we are over-defensive. Many times, acting at the behest of American Muslim political and advocacy organizations, we will leave no stone unturned in prostituting various foundational aspects of our faith in order to influence public opinion. True Islam belongs to Allah; we don’t need to defend it, we only need to practice it. Not surprisingly, ten years of spin doctoring Islam, have netted very little tangible results. To this day, we’re still complaining how much they don’t like us.

Consider that acting under the unhealthy influence of Islamic political organizations, American Muslims have already changed, (may Allah help us) for the benefit of public consumption, the meaning of Islam from submission to peace, we’ve established the despicable precedent that Friday prayer (Salaatul Jum’ah) does not have to be performed for Allah only but can be done on a state capitol lawn in order to make a political statement, and we’ve asserted that it really makes no difference whether you are Muslim, Christian or Jewish, it’s really just one religion. Now, as we approach the holiest month of the year, our ambitiously bodacious political Islamic leaders at CAIR, are asking us to share one of the most personal acts of devotion; the observance of the month of Ramadan, with our non-Muslim neighbors and associates!

The ‘Sharing Ramadan’ campaign inaugurated by CAIR suggests that we do group spectacle and mockery of our own faith during the holiest month of the year, and that we invite partners with whom we will share our devotion to Allah, and then, as suggested in CAIR’s ‘Sharing Ramadan’ resource guide, film it all, and send it to CAIR.

Increasing righteous acts during Ramadan is a Sunnah of our Prophet (SAWS). Make your non-Muslim friends, neighbors or family member a plate of food if you want, or spend some of the money you save during the month in charity.

However, your fast, your iftaar, your worship, and your devotional observance of the month of Ramadan, is between you and Allah. It’s not for sale, it’s not for public relations and it’s not to impress and it’s not for show. We cannot share or magically transfer our experience of fasting Ramadan because each persons fast, is known only to Allah, Judged only by Him, and accepted or rejected, by Allah be He Exalted and Glorified. Your fast is not yours to share. If you share it, you have associated partners with Allah.

Fasting, iftaar, taraaweeh, qiyaami lail, are all for Allah only, and He imparts, the blessings, the joy, the spiritual bliss and the reward of Ramadan, to whomever He pleases and in whatever measure He wants.. When we invite guests to the Masjid to ‘share’ Ramadan, we should realize that they cannot share in the blessing or reward since in order to be rewarded for fasting the month of Ramadan, you must first be a Muslim, after that, you must observe the fast, and it’s applicable rules and conditions according to the Quran and sunna.

CAIR suggests that a person can fast without belief, and break the fast without fasting, and that we should thank them for it. [Please do not forget to send “thank you” notes to the religious, political and civic leaders who attended the iftaar;][1]

Ramadan is a pillar of faith, and it should not be prostituted as part of a public relations campaign initiated by a national political Islamic organization, to alter perceived public opinion about Islam. If we allow that, then we are corrupting the very foundations of what we believe sacred, which is the unique oneness and devotional exclusivity of, and to the Almighty God, Allah (tawheed and ikhlaas). Without tawheed and ikhlaas, the essence of righteous and devotional acts of worship is rotted and devoid of any spiritual value.

Observance of the month of Ramadan is considered ritual worship (ibaadah) according to sacred law. The unanimous opinion of Islamic legal orthodoxy, is that ritual worship and devotion (including observance of Ramadan) is invalidated by partnering [shirk]; It may still look good on the outside. However, on the Day of Reckoning, when it counts, it will be worth nothing.

The slogan of CAIR’s campaign; “sharing Ramadan” suggests a compromise in devotional exclusivity (ikhlaas) to Allah, and it goes downhill from there. Although that may not be the intention behind the campaign, the slogan ‘sharing Ramadan’ is a misnomer to say the least and only adds to the confusion that a non-muslim may already have about Islam. Sharing food or sharing a meal is considered one of the noblest acts of faith, and something that every Muslim should do when he or she is able. However, feeding food is best when done for the sake of Allah, and not for the purpose of the cameras, public relations, or Muslim image making;

إِنَّمَا نُطْعِمُكُمْ لِوَجْهِ اللَّهِ لَا نُرِيدُ مِنكُمْ جَزَاء وَلَا شُكُورًا 76:9

“[Saying, in their hearts,] “We feed you for the sake of God alone: we desire no recompense from you, nor thanks:”

Taking iftaar is a devotional act that is part of the observance of Ramadan; you can’t share that with anyone. Iftaar to a Muslim is a very special moment that is part of the observance of Ramadan. Iftaar, to a non-Muslim, it’s just a meal just like any other meal. The only way for a person to experience Ramadan, is to first, believe in the Lord who commanded it, and second, observe the month according to the rules and ordinances of the Quran and prophetic tradition (Sunna). It is the divine right of God that worship should be done exclusively for him and him only.

فَمَن كَانَ يَرْجُو لِقَاء رَبِّهِ فَلْيَعْمَلْ عَمَلًا صَالِحًا وَلَا يُشْرِكْ بِعِبَادَةِ رَبِّهِ أَحَدًا 18:110

Whoever expects to meet his Lord, let him work righteousness, and, in the worship of his Lord, admit no one as partner. 18:110

Fasting is a special type of worship and devotion to Allah. Even though every act of worship is done for devotion to Allah, and for the benefit of one’s soul, fasting is particularly for Allah in ways that are beyond our comprehension. Allah has said, “All of the actions of mankind are done for his own sake except for fasting; it is done exclusively for me, and I reward it accordingly” [2]

Although it frequently resorts to hyperbole and fear tactics to elicit support, CAIR is arguably a necessary organization and occasionally does good work on behalf of people who need support. The local people whom I know at CAIR are passionate, hard working people who I admire and respect, but like us all, they make mistakes, and the ‘Share Ramadan campaign is one of them.

Islamic Political organizations should not be in the habit of setting agendas for what are supposed to be religious based initiatives. It is for this reason, many Americans regard Islam as a political ideology bent on takeover instead of a god centered religion that leads to salvation for the human soul. Public relations are important, and have a place in Islam. However, Islamic public relations is accomplished by going out amongst the people who live amongst you, and serving them, feeding our poor, helping the elderly shut in, who lives down the block, protecting our children from drugs, gangs, keeping an eye out for criminals, predators and violence in the neighborhood. That’s how you are neighborly in Islam, and that’s how people understand neighborliness in America.

You don’t reach out to your neighbors by sending formal invitations to politicians and religious leaders, to a controlled, choreographed, dry scripted event at the place where you worship, in an environment that is totally foreign to them. There is no spontaneity in that, no sincerity, and no personal interaction with everyday people. As far as most Americans are concerned, such events are fake, and disingenuous. Our mothers and grandmothers who weren’t Muslim, taught us better than that. I grew up on America as a Muslim, and lived next door to folks for years and we interacted with our neighbors all the time, as Muslims. We played football in the street, shared food, utensils, shoveled each other’s snow off the sidewalk, picked up each other’s mail when we went on vacations, and watched over each other’s houses. If you look out for your neighbors, they will look out for you. That’s the way things are done in America, and for Muslims who are tired of people looking at you like you don’t belong here, it’s important that you understand that.

Being a good neighbor is part of the Islamic way and it is part of the American way. Every Muslim family in America has the opportunity on a daily basis to get to know their neighbors. You don’t need a national political Islamic organization, to puppeteer you through it, step by step like you are a robot. Americans can see right through that.

Being a good neighbor is not something that you do once a year, at a staged event, with the cameras rolling and with flash cards, talking points and press kits. You can be a good neighbor and reach out to them simply by walking a few feet to the next door on either side of you with a bag of groceries, or by shoveling the freshly fallen snow off your neighbors pavement as you shovel your own, or offering to feed their dog while they are on vacation. Being a good Muslim is to worship Him alone in the proper manner, without associating partners with Him. Trying to please politicians will not bring us closer to Allah, and it is not the basis for success in this life or the hereafter. American Muslims need to rediscover tawheed and ikhlaas, and not let our worship and duty to our Lord be compromised by partnering our worship with political objectives a public relations imagery whether it is orchestrated by CAIR or anyone else.

Restricting CAIR’s unhealthy and destructive influence in our nation’s masaajid (mosques) and Islamic centers will do more to change public opinion about Islam, than a thousand camera ready iftaars and open houses. It will also open the door for American Muslims to practice Islam and interact with our neighbors in faith, sincerity, and without political or public relations consideration, all of which are detrimental to our disposition of our souls when we stand before Allah subhaanahu wa ta’ala. Islam is a religious journey, not a political campaign. If we concentrate on practicing our faith, instead of trying to control the image of it in the public eye, people might start to believe that Islam is indeed a religion based upon truth and godliness, and not subterfuge and deception. Ramadan only comes around once a year and we are not promised to see the next one.

The sad part about this is that CAIR actually does good work on behalf of Muslims in certain areas of advocacy, and since they recruit their volunteers from within the nation’s Muslim congregations, the people who work with CAIR are usually hard working, god fearing, and conscientious. I love our local CAIR Director here in the city that I live, and I support him in the good work he does for our community, and he does a lot. May Allah reward him and strengthen him.

This is the United States of America and people are free to do as they want. We all have to answer to Allah for our actions when we meet Him. For that reason, we should not allow our mosques, Islamic centers and congregations to be manipulated and our great to be politicized by a few people to serve their organizational self-interests. All criticism of Islam and Muslims cannot be summed up as a case of Islamophobia; there are elements that come into our masaajid and politicize and take advantage of ordinary, unsuspecting Muslim Americans, using fear tactics, hyperbole, and spiritual blackmail, and we need to put an end to it so we can go about or lives, being productive while practicing Islam as a religion and not as a political ideology Let’s keep politics, public relations, and pandering to media and public opinion out of this Ramadan, and the Ramadans to come. May Allah accept our observance of the month, forgive us for our sins, and purify our intentions. Wa Allahu al-Musta’aan wa bi hi tawfiq.

Imam Luqman Ahmad
http://imamluqman.wordpress.com

[1] CAIR brochure ‘Sharing Ramadan Resource Guide’

[2] Collected by Bukhaari

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12 Comments

  1. I think this “imam” is confused. By attending a Sharing Ramadan dinner, the Christians are not being asked to fast but to observe and learn. Muslims are a minority- a very misunderstood minority- in America and any exposure to the community and religion is a positive thing.

    • How does a Christian observe and learn the Fast of Ramadan? The Fast of Ramadan has to be experienced with all of its spiritual implications. It is not for non-Muslims and, as Imam Luqman highlights very well, it is a sacred experience that can not be ‘shared’. I think Imam Luqman provided a sound way for Muslims to be better ‘understood’, as a minority in this country. If we are following the sunnah of the Prophet (saws) engaging our neighbors, having good, honest relations with people then we will promote Islam in a natural, meaningful way.
      Fast-a-thons, media events, political posturing does little to promote Islam especially when Muslims have little or no control over the mediums of communications. A quick sound bite or television show will not change negative perspectives of Muslims.
      We need to do as Imam Luqman suggested in this article, forge real relationships with non-Muslims on a personal level and then trust Allah

    • Perhaps I am a bit confused. Could you kindly enlighten me as to how a person, Muslim or non-Muslim could observe a Muslim fasting? I mean if I observe three people from before dawn to sunset, and none of them eat or drink a thing, how will I be able to distinguish between the one who is fasting Ramadan, the one who is starving because of famine, and the one who is dieting? Maybe if you could describe for me what the fast of Ramadan looks like, it would end my confusion, because I just can’t see it. Imam Luqman Ahmad
      http://imamluqman.wordpress.com

  2. Mash Allah there are many well written points in this article. Imam Luqman Ahmed article describes how good intentions mixed politics, public relations, and Islam can backfire.

    I agree that we Muslims are fasting only to please our Lord. We always want better relations with our non-Muslim community (co-workers and neighbors) perhaps an invitation to the Masjid during our sacred month of Ramadan is not the best time to entertain guests especially if this is nothing more than media hype, PR and Public Relations.

    In reality, it will take much more than a visit or two to the Masjid during Ramadan to quell Islam phobia in the USA. I do understand that CAIR’s Sharing Ramadan is to help educate non Muslim coworkers and neighbors about Muslims. Maybe this campaign should be monthly (rather than just during Ramadan).

    The sad reality is that Islam phobia in the USA is a systemic problem that needs systemic solutions to ensure that all Muslims are free from racism , religious oppression and discrimination. I do get the Imam’s point is saying that maybe CAIR should stick to fighting these kinds of battles to help oppressed Muslims that are treated unfairly solely due to religious affiliation. After all, this is America where we have religious rights and freedoms that we must uphold.

    Perhaps CAIR would consider developing a panel of Imams that are consulted on areas of Ibadan (worship) so that input such as Imam Luqman’s is obtained prior to launching of these kind of campaigns.

    As Imam Luqman has pointed out, fasting is very personal form of worship and is a pillar of Islam. Perhaps we should really think more about submitting to our Lord rather than to politics and people….I am going to read this article again and share it with my family and our Imam to see what they think about this.

    Imam Luqman and Lamp Post thanks for the thought provoking article about the importance of not mixing politics, people with Ramadan.

    May Allah swt accept our fast, prayers and good deeds during this blessed month of Ramadan!

  3. As-Salaamu ‘alaykum.

    I will reiterate what I wrote on Imam Luqman’s website from before with a few extra thoughts.

    For one, I find this post to be more of a tirade than useful critique. The language is hostile and I personally don’t see the benefit in slandering the folks at CAIR as “ambitiously, bodacious political Islamic leaders”; makers of “group spectacle and mockery”; “prostituting” our religion and so forth. I am disappointed to say the least in the language found here.

    To speak to another point, I have found in some circles amongst indigenous Muslims, it has become trendy to bash so-called “immigrant Muslims”. Anyone who has read my web site knows my stances on the issues with the immigrant Muslim community and the troubles that arise out of it. However, I feel we as Black Folks can allow ourselves to be carried away with our innate protest and anti-establishment fervor. In fact, I often wonder if CAIR is truly the object of our critique or they are the straw man of our disenfranchised feelings towards the dominant culture. Do we resent our immigrant brothers because of the successes they have enjoyed so much so that we are willing to get at their throats? Some food for thought.

    I also have truck with labeling their intentions [as Allah knows their intentions best] as sacrilegious. I see no evidence that anyone at CAIR is attempting to associate partners with Allah but are rather inviting non-Muslims to observe what it is that Muslims do during Ramadan. If you don’t like it, don’t participate it in. But as the Muslim chaplain at the University of Pennsylvania, I am certainly not going to tell my students at the MSA that “Fast-a-thon Week” is a bid’ah/innovation. We have to stop labeling every little thing that other Muslims do that we don’t agree with as innovation and sacrilegious. As you said, Imam Luqman, Americans [Muslims!] are smarter than this.

    I will not deny that CAIR’s efforts may be best spent in the legal and political rings; da’wah is an art and a science and perhaps when it comes to agendas with a scope this large, Sharing Ramadan may be best implemented by community organizations that have a more grassroots feel, such as mosques and even individuals. But simply lashing out and attacking them and accusing the Muslims who work their as actively attempting to deceive the American public is going too far in my book. Imam Luqman, you know I have a lot of love and respect for you. This just happens to be a point I disagree with you on.

    Ramadan Mubarak – Philadelphia, 1432AH

  4. The respect is mutual my brother. However, I fail to see how critical reproach of an organization constitutes slander against the individuals who work for that organization. If we criticize a company for marketing a defective product, that doesn’t constitute a personal affront against all of its employees. Unless of course, the employees believe that the company is incapable of error in which case they are simply misled, and that could happen to any one us. The people that I know who work for CAIR are people whom I like and respect, especially our local CAIR president, who is one of the most dedicated and passionate persons that I know, with respect to Islamic work. That does not mitigate the fact that CAIR is indeed an organization, and one that frequently and publicly claims to represent and speak on behalf of American Muslims. Not just some of us, but all 2 million or 7 million of us depending upon which poll you believe in. Individual freedom of expression and the right to speak one’s mind is what CAIR claims to advocate. So how then can criticism of their methods, their tactics, and their misleading statements about Islam, and Muslims, constitute personal slander? You definitely lost me on that point. Furthermore, where is the Islamic ruling that places CAIR, or any other organization, Muslim or non-Muslim above scrutiny?
    This has nothing to do with the angry black man thing, or deep rooted resentment for the success of immigrants in America, notwithstanding that many Muslims including myself have a totally different understanding of what constitutes success. I tend to think of success as a person fulfilling one’s duty to his or her Lord and finding salvation in the afterlife, you can do that being rich or poor, native or immigrant, black or white, educated or illiterate. That’s just me. One of the points that I would like you to consider is that when CAIR claims to represent and speak on behalf of millions of American Muslims, without being duly elected, without any democratic process (which they claim to support) or without any Islamic process of contractual representation according to shariah law, then how can that not be misleading?
    Another question that come to my mind is; what exactly is it about Islamophobia that prevents Muslims in America from, believing in Allah and His Prophet (SAWS), praying five times a day, paying Zakaat, feeding the poor, fasting the month of Ramadan, making hajj, or umrah, honoring the neighbor, honoring our parents, caring for the elderly, caring for the orphan, assisting single women with children, helping the less fortunate, cleaning up streets and parks, making peace with those who fight each other, removing debris from the road, showing patience and tolerance to those who speak ill of Muslims, fighting bigotry and racism within our own ranks, visiting the sick, being fair and just in our business dealings, or educating the illiterate? All of the above acts have spiritual reward, and defined scriptural basis and foundation according to our religious cannons (Quran and Sunna). On the other hand, the word Islamophobia, and the conceptual usage of it as a singular terminology comprising any and all opposition, criticism, dislike, negative sentiment or portrayal, or discrimination against Muslims, has no basis in the Quran, no foundation in prophetic tradition, no references or precedence in any of the books of Islamic law, and no theological placement in orthodox islamic creed (aqeeda). So how can campaigning against Islamophobia, something that has no definite meaning or mention in any of our scripture, be more important than living and practicing the tenants of Islam and the branches of faith and moral fortitude that accompany it? Another question that I want you to consider is; if we are able to perform all of the acts of faith that I mentioned here while living in America, then why should the negative view of Islam and Muslims cause us so much angst? If we are not able to perform these essential duties of our faith that I have mentioned, then where is the evidence of that? This brings yet another question to mind; how can we believe something (islamophobia is a threat to our faith) with absoloutely no evidence to support that, while claiming to be a people whose religion is based upon evidence (the Quran and Prophetic tradition)? This leads me to yet another question; how can saying to non-muslim Americans that it is more important to us to change what is in their hearts than it is to change what is in our own hearts, be an accurate presentation of Islam, our code of beliefs, our ethics, and the Lord that we worship?
    So with all due respect brother Mark, how can an organzation like CAIR, who claims it represents Islam and Muslims, tell us that fighting islamophobia and working to eradicate it, is the number one priority for all Muslims living in America, not be questioned? I already forgive you for accusing me of slander, and I’m pretty certain that you already know that criticizing an organization does not constitute slander against its members. As far as sacrilege in concerned, if making partners with Allah in our worship is not sacrilege, then I don’t know what is, and as for the statement about leaders being bodacious; making misleading, and false claims to represent all of the Muslims in America sounds pretty bodacious to me. I know you mean well my dear brother, but I think you’re barking up the wrong tree . Sooner or later we will have to contend with the reality that Allah is the Only True God,
    and that His prescriptions for us will serve our best interests more than the failed prescriptions of any political Islamic organization. American Muslims, employing CAIR’s ridiculous tactics, have been fighting Islamophobia for a decade, and hostility and suspicion of Muslims is more than it was ten years ago. Doesn’t that tell you something? Imam Luqman http://www.imamluqman.wordpress.com

  5. So how then can criticism of their methods, their tactics, and their misleading statements about Islam, and Muslims, constitute personal slander? You definitely lost me on that point.

    Calling them “ambitiously bodacious political Islamic leaders” is language that goes beyond critique of organizational dynamics and into the realm of naming calling. As I said, I concede that CAIR is not beyond the pale of reproach but I don’t see where name calling is justified.

    I tend to think of success as a person fulfilling one’s duty to his or her Lord and finding salvation in the afterlife, you can do that being rich or poor, native or immigrant, black or white, educated or illiterate. That’s just me.

    While that may be personal choice as you say, how does a laissez-faire attitude towards [material] success bring about and secure benefits and ward off detriments [المصالح امرسلة]? Again, I hear this attitude from a number of my Blackamerican Muslim counterparts and it disturbs me that we are still this antagonistic towards success. Especially for those of us who may be challenged to meet such criteria for success, it certainly bolsters are sense of religiosity in that we’re not succeeding “for the sake of Allah”. We couch and robe our inadequacies in religious language so we can feel better about ourselves while we ignore our social realities.

    Finally, show me irrefutable proof that CAIR, as an organization-both organizationally and individually-are engaging in shirk or sacrilegious activities. I don’t believe you can. You can say that you don’t like what they’re doing [which is why I believe you said their agenda “borders upon sacrilege”: just how does one border on shirk or sacrilege? Seems more like an “you’re in or you’re out” deal. And if one is “out”, then this has the feel more of personal attack than being rooted in anything beneficial.

    And Allah knows best,

  6. My dear brother Mark, I am fond of you, and I really don’t like to see you get so worked up in defense of CAIR on this issue. It’s starting to sound like you are getting petty, and peronal. I hope that I am wrong about that. Nevertheless, political Islam in America is a religion unto itself, and CAIR is like the high priestess, and I personally know people who have literally lost it, at the notion that the massa .. oops! I mean CAIR, might not be on the up and up about everything. Maybe you should talk to some ex-CAIR disciples who have lost faith and disbelieved in them, or maybe, since you tout the establishment, you ought to look at some of their leaders who have been indicted, or look at why they recently lost their 501 C-3 status. Remember that CAIR is an organization. It is a company. It is not a person. If I called CAIR every bad name I could think of, that still would not amount to personal slander according to Islamic law. CAIR has labeled thousands of Americans as islamophobes. If you want to accuse someone of name calling, then there ya go bro. I’m still confused as to why you are so agitated, why are you so incensed? There are dozens of people work with or for CAIR, including the local director who attend and visit the Masjid of which I am the imam, (Masjid Ibrahim Islamic Center, Sacramento) and we don’t even have this kind of discourse. Please get a hold of yourself! The local CAIR Executive Director is my close friend and brother, who I love and respect dearly. We broke fast together just a few days ago, and we didn’t have this kind of talk. He was not personally offended. over the post, and he and I have discussed these issues for years. Like I said, CAIR does not speak for me, and you should not speak for CAIR. Now remember what you keep saying about black folks? You forgot to mention that sometimes the slave was more perturbed about what they regarded as disrespect for the master than the master was! It sounds like I’m hearing a little of ..‘watch how you talk to the massa’ , from you. I’m just saying, something to consider, since you are one of those black folks you were speaking of right? Sometimes converts to Islam are looking for validation form others in order to feel good about themselves. Hey; we all have our issues. I certainly have mine.
    Anyway brother, I suggest that you read the original post again because You seem to be saying that Islamic law, Islamic theology, prophetic tradition and creed is irrelevant when it comes to how we look at modern political Islam, particularly when it comes to CAIR. What I’m saying is that faith, Quranic guidance, following the Sunna, and making sure that ibaadah, and worship is for Allah does matter, and that we were here practicing Islam before CAIR opened its first bank account, and we know from experience that people are not impressed about Islam by play acting the fast of Ramadan, or performing mock salats, and we know that being muslim for a day, or fasting for other than Allah is indeed sacrilege. .
    My dear brother; prescribed acts of devotional worship such as salat, fasting, and ritual sacrifice, are exclusively for Allah, and if you believe that someone can share that act with a friend or neighbor, or if you believe that CAIR is justified in calling people to share Ramadan, after we have been observing it without sharing for more than fourteen hundered years, then it is you who need to bring proof, not us. . However, there is no use in arguing with me about it; you should take up your argument with Allah subhaanahu wa ta’ala. After all, I’m not the one who is offended when people fast for a day at the behest of Muslims, or when people try to share the fasting experience with non-Muslims, or when people share Ramadan, pray at the capital to show patriotism, or prays to make a political statement. It is Allah, Who is likely to take issue with associating partners with Him in our worship. With all due respect, I don’t have to prove anything to you. Nor do I need you to prove anything to me. The reason I wrote the post in the first place was to inform people about the presence of shirk al-asghar when you share Ramadan. Be careful what you say on the internet; it I very likely that as you grow and learn more about islam, you will have a different position about sharing Ramadan. It I also likely that CAIR will change their policy about it next year or in the coming year since from what I know of them personally, they are god fearing folks, who respond to reminders, just as we all should. So don’t be so gung ho in standing up for shirk brother. Just because you do not see it does not mean that it isn’t there.. Your statements may come back to haunt you.
    We were taught differently, and it was drilled in our heads since the time we were children that ibaadah is for Allah only. I have heard this from my father, Shaykh Abdul-Karim Ahmad, my early teacher, Shaykh Rashid Awad, and I have heard it from the late Sheikh Nafi’ Muhaimin (may Allah have mercy upon him). The Quran was sent down during this month, over 14 hundred years ago. It was carried by Jibril, and placed in baitul izza and from there he delivered it to the Messenger of Allah, who then taught it and recited it to his companions, who then memorized it and wrote it down, and then codified it into a mas’haf by the command of Abu Bakr as-Siddiq, and then later formalized into one book by the Caliph Uthmaan ibn Afaan, and it has been passed down to us here in America by way of tawaatur, and in that book is states; . CAIR is less than thirty years old; we will not abandon tawheed for the words and policies of an organization like CAIR that has been around for less than thirty years. We were inviting to Islam and giving people shahaadah years before CAIR was thought, and of the hundreds of shahaadas that I have given over the years, not one person cited experimental practice fasts, or fast-a-thons, or play acting being a Muslim, as an influence in their accepting our faith.
    As far as proving something to you my dear brother, that was never my intention, nor is it my intention now. You have it backwards; the burden of proof is upon the one who innovates new religious practices, not upon the one who rejects it. Muslims have known for more than fourteen hundred year that fasting is for Allah only. The burden of proof is upon those who now say that we can share our fast of Ramadan with our neighbors. And that fasting need not be for Allah only; it can be for practice, for experimentation to get the feel of it. As far as wealth and status in concerned, people are free to make as much money as they like, wal al-humdu lillah. If you believe that the measure of a person’ success is in the amount of material wealth, and status they have accumulated then my only answer to you is; read the beginning of sura al-Mu’minoon. I don’t know what circle you travel in where people bash immigrants for no reason. However, I have heard people lament the fact that many immigrant Muslims set up liquor stores in mainly poor neighborhoods, where much of the da’wah to Islam is done in this country, where they sell pornography, drug paraphernalia, and lottery tickets. If you are comfortable with your position and have a suitable argument for it with Allah, then it is not necessary to prove anything to me. I am very comfortable in my characterization that CAIR’s claim to represent me and my family as misleading since I have made no agreement with them to that effect and I was here in the United States as a practicing Muslim before CAIR even existed. And I reiterate that it is indeed a bold and bodacious act for an organization to speak on behalf of 2 million Muslims, without their approval. And the campaign to eradicate islamophobia which has thus far, been a complete failure, and is doomed to fail, since it is only Allah who controls the hearts. Whoever tries to convince people that they can not only see what is in the hearts of over 400 million Americans, is claiming a power that only Allah has, and are leading people astray in that. Likening one’s self to Allah is sacrilegious, pure and simple, and so is fasting for other than his sake, whether you believe that or not, don’t argue with me about it; take your beef up with Allah subhaanahu wa ta’ala. He’s the one who makes the rules. Wa Allahu al-Musta’aan. Imam Luqman Ahmad

  7. If I called CAIR every bad name I could think of, that still would not amount to personal slander according to Islamic law.

    But you are not just saying CAIR, but you are addressing its “ambitiously bodacious political Islamic leaders“. So it’s not simply an attack of the organization, but it is directed at real human beings. Second, I am not sure what the issue is about politics. The Prophet Muhammad لى الله عليه و سلم was a politically astute leader as well as a religious one.

    As far as your objections to “sharing”, inviting someone to observe is not the same as joining in with someone in a religious act. This is where I disagree: I believe one can invite people to observe what it is that Muslims do without it becoming a participatory act.

    Just because you do not see it does not mean that it isn’t there.. Your statements may come back to haunt you.

    This is circular argumentation. Because you “claim” they are is no more closer to it being a violation of religious sanctity.

    We were taught differently, and it was drilled in our heads since the time we were children that ibaadah is for Allah only.

    I assume that this is a passive-aggressive attack in that I was not taught the same as you. I can assure you two things: one, I was not taught exactly the same as you; two, I was taught that ibadah is for Allah alone. One is not required to be raised as you were in order to not associate partners with God.

    Alas, we will simply agree to disagree on this. I respect you as a brother and as an imam, but I do not believe this rhetoric has any benefit for the Muslims.

    And Allah knows best.

    • Hasbunaa Allah, wa ni’mah Wakeel. My dear brother, you do realize that you publicly, and on the internet, accused me of committing slander, (twice) , during the month of Ramadan, and cited as your evidence, my criticism regarding the statements and directives of people who fraudulently claim to speak for and represent American Muslims, and my general characterization of them as ‘bodacious’. You insist that generally criticizing political leaders without naming them constitutes slander, even though I have not mentioned any of them by name or description except our local CAIR Director, whom I praised and expressed my respect for him. I have been speaking and writing for many years, and you will not find on the internet, or in print, a single occurrence where I negatively, or derisively mentioned the name of any Muslim; ever. I have many faults, but slandering Muslims in public is not one of them in sha Allah. Your stated reasonin and understanding of what constitutes slander , , is not correct, and you will not find a single scholar of Islam who agrees with you on that. However, publicly and specifically accusing me is itself slanderous, and I forgive you unconditionally. It is important, particularly since you have recently been appointed a chaplain at the University of Pennsylvania (my congratulations) that you do not jeopardize your credibility as someone who gives religious instruction during the Friday khutba. I realize that you are relatively new to this, and may Allah strengthen you.
      Nevertheless, the companions criticized Usaama ibn Zaid and the Prophet (SAWS) did not prohibit them from that, although in this case, the Prophet (SAWS) defended him. There was a man called Al-Abbas bin Murdas who came to the Prophet who was distributing the booty of Hunain and told him that he has to be just. The Prophet did not punish him but engaged in a dialogue with him saying. “Then who can be called just if I am not?” it was also reported that the Prophet (SAWS) said, “Verily, Allah does not take away knowledge by snatching it from the people but He takes away knowledge by taking away the scholars, so that when He leaves no learned person, people turn to ignorant as their leaders; then they are asked to deliver religious verdicts and they deliver them without knowledge, they go astray, and lead others astray.” Sadly, we are living in these times, and it is the right of Muslims, and in some cases, their duty to criticize those who claim to lead them, whether legitimately or illegitimately, when they are leading them astray.
      As for my reference to my upbringing, it goes without saying that the most honored person to Allah is the one with the most piety. And I doubt, with all of my defects, whether I am pious or not. May Allah have mercy. Where and how I was raised and the way I was raised has nothing to do with my status when I stand before Allah subhaanahu wa ta’ala, and it wasn’t meant as a slight on you my dear brother. Although it might behoove you not be so hasty in dismissing the value of religious principle. The point that I was making was that there was a tradition of worship that was established by American Muslims, and taught to us, long before CAIR even existed, that we fast only for Allah subhaanahu wa ta’ala. There were imams here, and the religion of Islam was here before they arrived. We were taught to cherish tawheed, and to uphold it. Sharing Ramadan is not enlightenment, and it is not a step forward for Muslims in America. It is giant step backwards, and our beloved Prophet (SAWS) has already set the highest standard for worship that it be according to his sunna, and that it be only for Allah be He Exalted and Glorified.
      It is interesting that of the thousands of people who have read the post about sharing Ramadan, and the many comments that I have received on blog and email, you are the only one who expressed such passionate indignation, and umbrage, and the only one who made personal accusations. Quite a few people have opted out of the sharing Ramadan campaign, ad some communities have renamed it and made adjustments to how they conduct it for this year. I’m not sure why you seem so adamant about trying to discredit what I said. I suppose you have your reasons; you certainly do not have any evidence., and you are nt in a position to determine what benefits Muslims. Remembrance of what it important in our religion, will always benefit those who believe. Imam Luqman

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