Weiner’s wife: Stop the biased assertions


JUL 30, 2013, 2:34 PM


It’s sad that Huma Abedin, wife of embattled New York mayoral candidate Anthony Weiner, is having her identity attacked as a consequence of her husband’s shenanigans. The attacks, which relate to Abedin sticking by her husband despite his sexting indiscretions, are rooted in old, orientalist notions that reflect bias.

Controversial radio host Rush Limbaugh falsely attributed Abedin’s pardoning of her husband to a weakness, which he falsely attaches to her religion.

”Huma is a Muslim,” he said. “Muslim women don’t have any power, right?”

Not to be outdone, New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd asserted that Abedin is the perfect submissive wife because she “was raised in Saudi Arabia, where women are treated worse by men than anywhere else on the planet.”

Abedin, a tri-lingual, high-level advisor to former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, has her own reasons as to why she is working things out with her husband – just as other spouses who have stuck by their partners in similar circumstances. Her supposed oppression by her faith, however, is an oversimplified and ridiculous notion.

The irony of such assertions is that her former boss, Hillary Clinton, went through an even more public scandal with President Bill Clinton, yet her Christianity and upbringing was never mentioned as a reason for her staying with Bill.

In fact, I cannot recall Limbaugh, Dowd and their like raising the issue of potential subservience due to religion when and the wives of Clinton, former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick, former Michigan State Attorney General Mike Cox and other politicians stuck by their husbands after sexting scandals and worse.

Michigan Muslim women such as Kalamazoo native Abedin, Wayne County Circuit Court Judge Charlene Elder and others who teach in universities and serve as doctors in our hospitals are empowered women, who practice Islam.

Perhaps Limbaugh, Dowd and other pundits should focus all of their attention in the Weiner discussion on the problem, which is Weiner, instead of invoking tired orientalist frames that are not grounded in the reality of American Muslim life.

Thoughts on Day 21 of Ramadan: Critical Analysis of History & Intellectual Terrorism

On the 21st of Ramadan which is the day of the martyrdom of Imam Ali bin Abi Talib (KW), I reflect on the importance of early Islamic history.  More specifically, I continue to think about how romanticizing this history not only lacks intellectual integrity, but it is also counterproductive for the Ummah in solving its current issues.  If we can’t be intellectually honest and mature about our past then we certainly cannot be honest and mature about the present.

The first three generation of Muslims, which are commonly referred to as the “Righteous Predecessors” achieved much.  The elite among them were the first to embrace Islam in Makkah during adversities, migrated to Al-Madinah, struggled in the path of Allah and maintained their faith after the passing of the Prophet (SAWS), for those who lived past him.  They and their children’s generation oversaw the Qur’an being placed into text (mushaf) form and spread Islam to Greater Syria (Sham), Egypt, Persia to the gates of China.

There was, however, also some ugliness in this era.  Some companions of the Prophet (SAWS) were killed by other Muslims.  Others were oppressed by other Muslims.  Governors under the khilaafah misused the Muslim treasury and even one did this plus stayed drunk and was later whipped for it.

According to majority contemporary Sunni thought, every Muslim who met the Prophet (SAWS) and prayed behind him was a companion, and that every companion is deemed just (‘adl.)  To accept or question this notion is not a mere philosophical exercise; it has real day implications on how Islam is understood and implemented today.

Can a Muslim who killed other Muslims be considered just and that Allah (SWT) should be pleased with him/her?

Can one narrate ahadeeth from a person and take his/her opinions as authoritative simply because he/she was from the first two generations?

When looking at how Abu Dharr (RA) was exiled and the reasons behind it and how Abdullah bin Ma’sud (RA) was removed from being a judge in Iraq and later died due to being beaten, it is evident that injustice spread, including being perpetrated by some who are considered companions.  But because companions have been given de facto infallibility (‘ismah) though there is zero theological basis for this, it is seen as heretical almost to discuss what is clearly in the Islamic history books.

These issues were rigorously debated in earlier generations unlike today.  Unfortunately, intellectual terrorism shut down debate due to name-calling and even violence against Islamic thinkers and scholars.

For instance, it’s narrated in Masaa’il Al-Imam Ahmad bin Hanbal that the second generation Muslim who Al-Bukhari deemed trustworthy named Ali bin Al-Ja’ad (RH) stated, “Mu’awiyah [bin Abi Sufyan], I swear by Allah, died upon other than Islam.”  Some modern day Salafis have dismissed Ali bin Al-Ja’ad (RH) though he was deemed by early Sunni hadeeth narrators as strong.

Abu Hanifah (RH) and Sufyan Ath-Thawri (RH) both deemed Imam Ali (KW) superior to ‘Uthman and supported the revolution of Imam Zayd bin Ali bin Al-Husayn bin Ali bin Abi Talib (SA) against the Ummawi tyrant Hisham bin Abdil Malik.  Abu Hanifah (RH) was later imprisoned, and Imam Zayd (SA) was decapitated as his grandfather Imam Al-Husayn (SA) was due to his revolution.

Malik (RH) later supported the revolution of An-Nafs Az-Zakiyyah Muhammad bin Abdillah bin Al-Hasan bin Al-Hasan bin Ali bin Abi Talib (SA) against the first Abbasi tyrant Abu Ja’fari Al-Mansur.  Malik (RH), like Abu Hanifah (RH), was imprisoned as well as beaten.

An-Nasa’i (RH), who narrated a book on the virtues of Imam Ali (KW) was beaten to death by zealots, who accused him of being “Rafidi” because he stated he had nothing meritorious to narrate about Mu’awiyah.

It’s amazing that persons who fought and killed Muslims, including the Prophet’s (SAWS) family and companions and never publicly repented, cannot be questioned as to their merits or lack thereof.

Again, this speaks to our framework of what justice means and who we take our theology and jurisprudence from.  Creed and jurisprudence have been influenced by this such as the contemporary Sunni belief that it’s not allowed to rise up against a Muslim leader if he establishes prayer.  If that’s the case, then Imam Zayd (SA), Abu Hanifah (RH) and Malik (RH) were not on the “Sunnah,” which would be an outrageous proposition indeed.

There are some contemporary scholars that have been brave enough to discuss such issues.  Of course, they too have been labeled as being “Rafidi” as Ash-Shafi’i (RH), An-Nasa’i (RH), At-Tabari (RH) and others were labeled by intellectual terrorists.

Shaykh Muhammad ibn Yahya An-Ninowy is one such who calls into question Marwan ibn Al-Hakam and the “Ummawi media,” which facilitated the murder of Imam Al-Husayn bin Ali (SA).

Other thinkers along this line who critically analysis this history, in particular, the role of Mu’awiyah in the early fitnah in the Ummah, are Dr. Adnan Ibrahim, Dr. Hasan Farhan Al-Maliki and Dr. Ahmad Al-Kubaysi.

Insha’Allah, I will continue this subject in regards to ahadeeth that contradict that the Qur’an and how they relate to this early era of Islamic history that contained much political fitnah and jockeying.

Kalamazoo’s example: Other cities should follow in anti-discrimination ordinances


JUL 23, 2013, 2:30 PM 

Kalamazoo’s example: Other cities should follow in anti-discrimination ordinances

Kalamazoo Township on Monday got it right when it unanimously voted in favor of an ordinance banning discrimination based on race, color, sex, age, religion, national origin, height, weight, marital status, familial status, citizenship, physical or mental ability, gender identity, sexual orientation or genetic information of another person.There are federal and state civil rights laws that penalize discrimination, except for gender identity and sexual orientation, so some may view this as overkill. It does, however, send a message that Kalamazoo is serious about having an inclusive community and is seeking to dispel the perception that western Michigan is inhospitable to minorities.

Moreover, given that Michigan has no law banning housing discrimination against the LGBT community (the  right to housing is a basic human right), the ordinance provides a small measure of recourse in addressing such bias.

Michigan was the only state in the last census to suffer population loss. In order to attract new investments for jobs and migration, our cities and townships need to exert maximum effort towards making our state looking like a more desirable place to live and do business.

Bravo to Kalamazoo. We need more municipalities to follow its example in Michigan.

Thoughts on Day 13 on Ramadan reading

Surah 12, Ayah 55 says, “Appoint me over the storehouses of the land; surely I will be a knowledgeable guardian.”


The following verse relates to Prophet Yusuf (AS) asking the azeez in Egypt to appoint him as the minister of agriculture.  There are some interesting points in this.

1)      Yusuf (AS) extended his hand in cooperation to a non-Muslim in a land governed by non-Muslims.

2)      Yusuf (AS), through Allah’s guidance, sought to be in a leadership role when the people in the land were not upon Tawheed and lacked spiritual insight.

3)      Yusuf (AS) proved his spiritual and moral qualifications to be entrusted with authority after interpreting dreams and absolving himself from charges of immorality from the Azeez’s wife.


The wisdom of this is that there is nothing wrong with Muslims being involved in governments that are in Muslim minority lands and assisting in the betterment and preservation of law and order in those societies as long as Muslims are not violating Islamic ethical principles.

Those who say that Muslims cannot be involved in any politics outside of establishing the khilaafah miss the logic of the surah that in it is the 40th ayah which says “Legislation is not but for Allah.”  This statement was misapplied by the khaawarij during their non-cooperation and revolt against Imam Ali (KW).  We are to cooperate with any government except in those matters when it is directly promoting sin and enmity.  Yusuf (AS) was not promoting the religion of the Egyptians; he was involved specifically with managing agriculture that nourishes lives.


May Allah (SWT) grant us spiritual insight and make us of those who have wisdom to help lead with the best ethics.