Rebel Flags in Michigan and White Supremacy

A colleague of mine who is a Native American sent me this yesterday.

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Obviously after the national stories about removing the Confederate Flag in the wake of the Charlestown terror attack, capitalism dictates that the demand for the rebel flag has increased which means there is money to be made.

Meanwhile at the camp ground close to Chelsea, Michigan, a white man just put up a flag at his trailer.

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The neighboring trailer is resided in by an African American family.  I was informed that upon the raising of the flag that the African American family left the camp.

Mind you that in the whole discussion about the Confederate Flag and southern heritage, Michigan was not part of the Confederacy.  Moreover a significantly large percentage of white Michigan’s residents trace their lineage back to immigrants from Germany, Netherlands, Poland and other European lands who were not residing in the States at the time of the Civil War.  Thus they cannot even invoke the whole southern pride nonsense.

People are flying this flag and wearing this symbol as an expression of white supremacy.

If you lacked doubt about the meaning of this flag and the power of intimidation that it has, I hope that you get it now.

Rebellion in Early Islamic History & Recent Protests in Baltimore

I’ve been reflecting on the unrest that took place not long ago in Baltimore in which a big to do was made about a CVS being burned down.  Many in the American Muslim community even picked up the meme of focusing more on property damage than the police homicide of Freddie Gray.  Upon reflection of the burning of the CVS, I thought several times about an event in early Islamic history related to the burning of buildings as a form of protest.  I’m sure that some people will be offended by the comparison that I’m about to make.  The comparison is not to give proportionately nor is it an endorsement of CVS being set ablaze.  It is, however, an acknowledgment of the drastic measures that people can be made to feel compelled to implement when oppression is systematic and widespread.

In the early Islamic history, there is no doubt that the most oppressed family was the Alawiyyeen, meaning the family Imam Ali bin Abi Talib (KW) and his offspring.  Most of his sons, grandsons and subsequent generations were imprisoned and/or martyred through stabbings, beheadings and poisonings.  Some of their names are Al-Hasan bin Ali bin Abi Talib (SA), Al-Husayn bin Ali bin Abi Talib (SA), Zayd bin Ali bin Al-Husayn bin Ali bin Abi Talib (SA),  An-Nafs Az-Zakiyyah Muhammad bin Abdillah bin Al-Hasan bin Al-Hasan bin Ali bin Abi Talib (SA) and Musa Al-Kathim bin Ja’far bin Muhammad bin Ali bin Al-Husayn bin Ali bin Abi Talib (SA).  The suppression and crimes against them started under the government of Bani Umayyah and continued under the government of Bani Abbas.

Within this context, Abdullah “Al-Ma’mun” bin Harun Al-Abbasi was the ruler of the Muslims.  He beheaded his own brother, in fact, to ascend to the throne, which illustrates how vile the political leadership of Muslims had become.  Though outwardly appearing to give felicity to Ali Ar-Rida bin Musa Al-Kathim (SA), who was from the Alawiyyeen, he too was involved in oppressing them as well. Moreover under Bani  Abbasi, there was the oppression of Zanji people meaning black Muslims in Iraq, which also led to the famous Zanji rebellion.  This is the contextually era of many uprisings including the extreme actions of a man by the name of Zayd An-Nar (RH).

According to Abu Nasr Al-Bukhari, As-Samarqandi, Fakhruddin Ar-Razi and others, Zayd An-Nar was the brother of Ali Ar-Rida bin Musa Al-Kathim.  Zayd was given the title An-Nar, meaning The Fire, because while in Iraq during the rule of “Al-Ma’mun,” he rebelled against Abbasi authority in Basrah, which later included burning down the homes of Bani Abbas and their immediate supporters.  Zayd was subsequently imprisoned.

My point of bringing Zayd An-Nar into the discussion of Baltimore is that systematic oppression will lead to rebellion including destruction of property owned by those who are seen as being active participants or complicit in oppression.  Sometimes, extreme measures are taken by the marginalized to amplify their grievances with those who hold positional power.  Definitely the numerous rebellions by the Alawiyyeen starting with Al-Husayn bin Ali and Zayd bin Ali bin Al-Husayn are not directly like the event which we saw in Baltimore.  It is to say, however, that when the majority of society turns a blind eye to systematic oppression, there is guaranteed to be responses that appear extreme and “criminal.”  Extreme circumstances eventually breed extreme responses.  This is evident in the story of Zayd An-Nar.

Musa Al-Jawn: Pious & Knowledgeable Revolutionary

Musa  Al-Jawn (RA) was a transmitter of Islamic knowledge and a mujahid in the early generations of the Ummah.

Musa  Al-Jawn was a Hashimite and the son of Imam Abdullah bin Al-Hasan bin Al-Hasan bin Ali bin Abi Talib (AS).  He was described as having black/aswad skin.

Regarding his character, Abdullah bin Ahmad bin Hanbal stated that Musa Al-Jawn was a righteous man.  Al-Khatib Al-Baghdadi and Adh-Dhahabi stated that Yahya bin Ma’in viewed him as trustworthy pertaining to his narrations of ahadith.

Ibn Khaldun states that Musa Al-Jawn participated with his brother Imam An-Nafs Az-Zakiyyah Muhammad bin Abdillah (AS) in an uprising against the first Abbasi khalifah Abu Ja’far Al-Mansur.  It is also narrated that by Al-Bayhaqi that he was imprisoned, beaten and martyred in prison in the uprising; An-Nafs Az-Zakiyyah was also martyred in the process.  Malik bin Anas (RA) supported the uprising of An-Nafs Zakiyyah as well as a later one by his brother Imam Ibrahim bin Abdillah (AS), which led to Imam Ibrahim being martyred like his brothers; Malik was subsequently imprisoned and beaten for his support of the Hashimites.

Shaykh Abdul-Qadir Al-Jilani (RH), Hanbali jurist and father of the Al-Qadiriyyah order, has Musa Al-Jawn in his family tree.

Qanbar: Emancipation to Martyrdom

One of the early Muslims from the righteous followers of the Sunnah was Qanbar (RA).

Qanbar was a young black male, who was freed from slavery by Imam Ali bin Abi Talib (KW). Qanbar is written about in several books relating to his person to narrations with him mentioned them; some of those who mentioned him are Abdur-Razzaq As-San’ani, Abu Ya’la Al-Musuli, At-Tusi, Al-Mizzi and ibn Hajr Al-Asqalani. Moreover, he is referenced as being one of the closest followers of Imam Ali (KW) during his government. He was in Al-Kufah, Iraq during the khilafah of Imam Ali (KW) when Imam Ali (KW) was martyred.

Qanbar was a man who stuck closely to the truth and spoke out against oppression. Due to his noncompliance with the oppression of Bani Umayyah after the martyrdom of Imam Al-Husayn (AS), Qanbar was martyred by the brute governor of Iraq named Al-Hajjaj bin Yusuf, a man who was also responsible for the martyrdom of the great black tabi’i named Sa’id bin Jubayr (RH).

Mamtur Al-Aswad: Student of the Companions in Bilad Ash-Sham

Mamtur Al-Aswad was from the 2nd generation or Tabi’in. He was also referred to as Abu Salam Al-Habashi (the Abyssinian) even though his roots are from the Himyar tribe in Yemen. In earlier generations, sometimes Arabs with light skin would be referred to anyone with darker skin as Habashi as Abu Salam was described. Perhaps Abu Salam contained maternal Habashi roots given that Yemen had been occupied by Abyssinians for years prior to the birth of Prophet Muhammad (SAWS).

Abu Salam was a student of learned companions of the Prophet (SAWS) including ‘Ubada bin As-Samit (RA), who was also black. He resided in Bilad Ash-Sham (Greater Syria) and relayed ahadith that he learned.

During the khilafah of Bani Umayyah under Mu’awiyah bin Abi Sufyan, Muslims began to return back to tribal attachments in a strong way in which non-Arabs were seen as needing to be attached to an Arab tribe. In Tadhhib Al-Kamal by Al-Mizzi, it is stated that Mu’awiyah confronted the grandson of Abu Salam in Damascus, who was black in appearance, asking him who was his grandfather. He replied that it was Mamtur meaning Abu Salam. Mu’awiyah then asked him to who he was attached as if he was not an Arab. He then got angry with Mu’awiyah because he was an Arab.

Hamamah: One of the Early Female Companions

One of the early companions who sacrificed for the sake of Allah (SWT) was Hamamah Al-Habashiyyah (RA).

Hamamah was born in Abyssinia as a free person but was later enslaved by a man from Quraysh. While enslaved, she was able to marry Rabah, who was an Arab.

It is narrated that Abu ‘Umar stated in Al-Isbah by ibn Hajar Al-Asqalani that Hamamah was torture because of her belief in Allah (SWT), thus is a testimony that she was recognized as being Muslim. She was freed from slavery by Abu Bakr.

Abu Ali Al-Ghassani stated that this woman of honor was the mother of Bilal the Prayer Caller (RA), who the Prophet (SAWS) gave the title Master of the Prayer Callers (Sayyid Al-Mu’adhdhinin).

Hamidah: Virtuous Woman Attached to Ahl al-Bayt

Hamidah bint Sa’id (RA) was from the early generations of Muslims.  She was a black woman who was born from a mother who was enslaved.  Her ethnic background was Berber though there are conflicting narrations of whether she was born in North Africa or Muslim Spain.

Imam Ja’far As-Sadiq bin Muhammad Al-Baqir bin Ali As-Sajjad bin Al-Husayn As-Sibt bin Ali Al-Murtada bin Abi Talib (SA) proposed to Hamidah due to her intellect, manners and chastity.  It is reported that Imam As-Sadiq said to her, “You are praiseworthy in the world, and should be worthy of praise in the next-life.”

Hamidah gave birth to 4 children, with Imam As-Sadiq; those children were Imam Musa Al-Kathim (SA), Ishaq (SA), Muhammad Ad-Dibaj (SA) and Fatimah (SA).

It is reported that Hamidah was visited in a dream by the Prophet (SAWS) in which he (SAWS) told her to marry her son Musa Al-Kathim to Najmah Khatun, an enslaved lady who was Nubian.  Hamidah later emancipated Najmah from slavery, and her son Musa Al-Kathim then married Najmah.  Najmah later gave birth to Imam Ali Ar-Rida (SA).