Setting the Record Straight Part 2: Addressing the 10 Accusations Against Imam Suhaib Webb: Sheikah, Hafidhah, al-Azhariyah Maryam Amirebrahimi
I am extremely disappointed and personally offended that an article like this would be shared or that others encourage sharing it. This isn’t just a harsh article or one with horrifically poor adab when it comes to disagreement.
We should be writing about why and the method of how these anonymous trolls are writing is against the Quran and sunnah. Allah alMust`aan.
Instead of focusing on my own studies and responding to people who have reached out to me because they are struggling with their faith and are seeking guidance in how to re-connect to Allah, I’m unfortunately going to spend the next two hours giving a brief response to each of these points inshaAllah.
Imam Suhaib should not have to respond to an article as low as this, written as trashily as this because people of knowledge and those who care for the community should be concerned enough about the rhetoric in it to not allow for something like this to be spread.
With regards to the intro:
His birth name is William. Is there anything that should be mocked by being called the name your parents named you? The Prophet sal Allahu alayhe wa sallam never changed a person’s name unless it had a bad meaning or needed to be changed, such as Abd-alShams [slave of the sun]. If anything, being called by his birth name is going back to the sunnah of keeping the name your parents have named you. And if nothing else, he is rarely known as Imam William and still goes by Imam Suhaib. And if he didn’t, no one has right to claim blame on doing what the Prophet sal Allahu alayhe wa sallam himself did for the vast majority of the Sahabah, radi Allahu anhum!
-Anyone who is familiar with his work would reject him attempting to ‘americanize’ British Muslims BECAUSE ‘urf plays a role in some usool and in fatawah and as a scholar, he is the first who taught me how and when custom plays a role and the critical importance of understanding the urf specific to the area of its inhabitants.
- Confused between Sunnipath, Almaghrib, etc? How about seeking to bring unity amongst the Muslims? How about working with different groups to bring closeness amongst a constantly fighting population? How about putting his neck on the line when other groups would disagree with him so that he could help bring together different groups of the ummah?
As he taught me, when Musa alayhis salam left his brother Haroon in charge as mentioned in Surah Taha, and he came back and saw Banu Israel worshipping the calf and asked him “O Aaron, what prevented you, when you saw them going astray, From following me? Then have you disobeyed my order?”
The response of Haroon alayhis salam was: “O son of my mother, do not seize [me] by my beard or by my head. Indeed, I feared that you would say, ‘You caused division among the Children of Israel, and you did not observe [or await] my word.’ “
Haroon alayhis salam did not physically prevent Banu Israel from worshipping the calf because he was afraid of causing division!
And this is how we treat an Imam who is seeking to bring unity?!
- You know what has changed over the last decade? His level of knowledge and his understanding of the depth of ilm, its application and the reality of what our greater community needs. When he came back for the summer after one year at Azhar, he had a particular opinion that I was surprised to hear since it was so different from what he had taught the year before. Someone in the community said, “He went to Azhar and he got liberal.” I asked him about that specific issue and asked why he had changed. He was surprised and said, “Because I studied! That’s not my personal opinion. That’s the opinion of Imam Malik, rahimahullah!”
If we do not have comprehensive understanding of different mathahib and the different masa’il and the intricacies of those opinions, then we need to fear Allah and stay silent. What we may have been taught by one specific methodology or mathab is not the same in every perspective. All are within the schools of fiqh, and the 4 mathaib are not the only ones. We need to stop freaking out when something seems “liberal” and “innovative” and realize that all of this has a place in classical texts that we simply are not educated enough to know exists.
1- They made up their own definition for what American Islam is, and it can be summarized as: Muslims who sell out, likely paid by the government, to make Islam conform to American culture without concern for halal and haram.
Their proof is Imam Suhaib’s tweet about Obama and a clip on making dawah to his mom.
First, look around the world. Is not Islam the same religion, but manifested differently through clothing, through architecture, through art, in different cultures? Do Muslims in Malaysia look the same as Muslims in Pakistan? Do Muslims in Eritrea look the same as Muslims in Mexico?
In US Muslim communities, we make our members feel like we have to wear cultural clothing in order to truly look like Muslims. I went through this phase for many years. I felt the most pious dress I could possibly wear was anything Arab. I am not Arab. Why did I feel I have to take on aspects of another culture in order to be more legitimately Muslim?
As a Muslim American, I feel it is my duty to help others in our society be able to look at me, in hijab, but feel they can relate to me. Part of that is through dress, part through lingo, part through cultural references. Was not the Quran revealed in the language of the Arabs because it was the language they understood best? When Jibraeel alayhis salam, as Imam Suhaib taught me, came to the Prophet sal Allahu alayhe wa sallam in the famous hadith, was he not wearing clothing similar to the Arabs? Angels do not act without being commanded by Allah. Allah ordered Jibraeel alayhis salam to dress like those he would be seen, in similar clothing to what they themselves wore. Did that not make Jibraeel alayhis salam more relatable to them?
Does not Allah say that the Messengers walked in the markets and spoke the language of the people and were from their people? Does it not simply make sense that Muslims in America should help other Muslim Americans and the greater non Muslim society see that Islam is relatable, that it’s relevant, that they can see themselves as Muslims because we are able to speak to them, the way the Messengers spoke to their people? Allahu Akbar. This concept is nothing but following the Sunnah of the dawah of Allah.
And yet we’re okay with taking a definition made up by anonymous bloggers who have NO foundation to their claim other than the two points they chose to cite as proof?!
The video, for any advanced student of knowledge, Imam Suhaib’s reflection is the actualization of a depth in understanding, application and an awareness of when to apply the qawaidh al-shariah. If someone watches that video and takes issue with his stance, then I can say nothing other than they must be an extreme layperson who has not either studied or been mentored to understand when there are times that within clearly agreed upon differences within scholarship, it is permissible to take what is still clearly raajih for that situation for the sake of the maslahah. You cannot do that as a layperson. It takes scholarship to understand how and when to make that type of decision. And also, it takes scholarship to appreciate the depth of that understanding.
2- Where is the contention with him in this point? He did not say Islam allows homosexuality. He pointed out that the American constitution does.
I know Muslims who are struggling with homosexuality. They have been to Makkah and wept for Allah to take this test away from them. They have considered suicide because they feel so guilty that they have these feelings and they feel they can do nothing to change them.
What is our solution? Tell Muslims who are struggling with same-sex desires that they should leave Islam? That they do not belong in the community? That they should go ahead and commit suicide because there is no hope?
God forbid! God forbid! These are Muslims who are dealing with an enormous struggle. Having homosexual feelings does not take a person outside of Islam. The article that was posted on suhaibwebb.com about homosexuality outlined a Muslim’s struggle with staying within the boundaries of Islam despite this struggle. How is that in any way something to be bashed? We should appreciate that Imam Suhaib was willing to allow the post of an issue that most of our community remains completely silent on. There is a real segment in our community who are leaving Islam and attempting suicide because they have no idea who to turn.
The people of Prophet Lot (peace be upon him) are often invoked as the example of why someone who has homosexual feelings is doomed to destruction and therefore, many in our community conclude, queer individuals must be treated as such.
But Prophet Lot cared about his society; he tried to mentor them, tried to preach to them and tried to give them alternatives. This is so vastly different from our community approach.
The issue with Prophet Lot’s (alayhis salam) community was that they openly, intentionally and continually engaged in blatant homosexual acts publicly and they insisted on doing so while they had a Prophet calling them back to God and asking them to stop. That is very different from a Muslim struggling with homosexuality and who recognizes the action is something they have to struggle to stay away from.
Imam Suhaib’s quote on not asking or telling is the most Islamically possible route in giving people space to feel a part of the community without revealing their struggles. The ACTION of homosexuality in Islam is considered a sin, it does not take you out of Islam. Just as drinking is a sin. Or adultery is. Would we ask someone who drinks not to come to the masjid? A more precise comparison- would we ask someone who WANTS to drink but DOESN’T not to come into the masjid? And yet we block the house of God from those who seek Him and cause them to feel they need to leave Islam entirely.
Do not think we will not be held accountable on the Day of Judgment. Imam Suhaib is providing a space where Muslims who are struggling can finally come and try to reconcile what Allah is asking of them and what they’re being tested with. We, as a community who are not mature enough to handle that, should be grateful to and appreciate him for his efforts. What if someone in your family is struggling and has no where to go? What if, God forbid, they make the decision to leave Islam completely because no one will help them? What if, God forbid, you’ve gotten a call that they’ve tried to commit suicide and it was not successful? What would your response on Imam Suhaib’s position then be? May Allah protect everyone and protect your families.
This might not be that much of an issue for any of you readers personally.
Wait until someone in your family is struggling and has no where to go. Wait until their decision is leaving Islam completely because no one will help them. Wait until you’ve gotten a call that they’ve tried to commit suicide and it was not successful. Then see what your stance is on Imam Suhaib’s position. May Allah protect everyone and protect your families.
Finally, the Prophet sal Allahu alayhe wa sallam said about Half alFodool, which took place before the bu3thah: «لقد شهدت مع عمومتي حلفا في دار عبد الله بن جدعان ما أحب أن لي به حمر النعم ، ولو دعيت به في الإسلام لأجبت»
He sal Allahu alayhe wa sallam would have worked with the Quraysh after Prophethood. The same people who killed Muslims and tortured them. The same ones who kicked them out of their homes and hurt them. The same people he later forgave and came to Islam. He would have worked with pagans who worshipped idols and caused physical harm to those he loved sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam if it was for the sake of justice. Are not all of those actions religious considered greater transgressions than the sin of acting- not simply feeling- but acting on feelings of homosexuality?
4- The Shaykh has just posted about this specific point:
5- The way this was presented with the monkeys and all was just so offensive. How can any person of knowledge share this article knowing the personally offensive, demeaning and un-scholarly way these people have pitched their issues?
The beard and wearing a thobe is an issue that has differences amongst the scholars, even ranging in differences of understanding between those whose focus is kuliyat alshariah and kuliyat alhadith. However, at the end of the day, can’t we just say that sometimes a person does one thing with their appearance and then changes it later, perhaps for reasons unrelated to religion and perhaps sometimes for it? Imam Suhaib has a beard. And if you can’t see it, it’s probably because it’s light. A problem with your eyes doesn’t mean a problem with his appearance. And if he didn’t, I would hope we would understand that there is a reasoning behind his decision that goes beyond wanting to please CNN.
6- Read this: http://www.suhaibwebb.
You’re welcome to disagree. But take your beef too then with the classical scholars who have come to those opinions.
- Why is that picture considered one of him in a bar?! It looks like a restaurant. How sad is the state of our affairs that an Imam can pose in a picture with two elderly men, help them feel the warmth of Islam, as the Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallama did, and then publicly be labeled as standing in a bar and have other Muslims use this as a point of shame. Allah al-Must`aan.
7- I am a nobody, and I get people who make things up about me and are incredibly rude, demeaning and manipulative in what they suggest [sounds a lot like this article!]. You know what I do? I block them. Why? Because I do not have time to deal with people who hide behind a screen and instead of sincerely trying to understand my position or advise me while being willing to see where I’m coming from, choose to hide behind a screen and continue to fill my time and mental space with vileness. If you’re going to be an internet troll, why should I give you the time of my day to waste? I have bigger issues to be held accountable to Allah for in the ways that I spend my time.
I’m a nobody. Amplify that by a million for Imam Suhaib.
If you sincerely ask Imam Suhaib, if you advise him with sincerity and listen to his perspective, he listens. He makes time to listen.
8- You know another person who used to teach groups of all women? THE PROPHET MUHAMMAD sal Allahu alayhe wa sallam. You know who else would speak together with purpose, for the sake of knowledge and strategy? The Companions of the Prophet sal Allahu alayhe wa sallam! May Allah be pleased with them all.
Pictures of him teaching and facilitating learning are used as proof that he encourages “free mixing”?
If you look at the Prophetic biography, male and female companions worked together, sought counsel from one another, prayed in the same masjid without a wall and addressed each other. Why is reviving that sunnah a reason for contention?!
And okay, in one picture, it seems he’s sitting close to another female and it looks like they could be touching.
Think about: What if they were just asked to pose for a picture and they wouldn’t fit without sitting on the same bench? Anyone who has issues with this, here’s my question: Have you never been in a situation where you’ve been on stage or in a gathering and they are going to take a picture and you don’t even realize how close you are because your clothes are so loose you physically do not feel the other person’s clothing touching yours?
Oh wait, you haven’t? Then don’t judge and do not make assumptions.
And if you haven’t because you believe that pictures are haram, then respect the difference of opinions of scholars who allow it.
And if you haven’t because you wouldn’t speak with a non mahram man or woman, then that’s your personal decision, based on your understanding, but appreciate that the Prophet sal Allahu alayhe wa sallam did, the companions radi Allahu anhum did, and that when there is purpose- as clearly there is in this picture as signified by the woman’s badge in showing they’re in some sort of educational or professional conference- this should not be an issue.
9- I am not going to address this point. I will simply say that unless you were in his shoes, do not make conclusions.
10- I don’t personally know anything about this to speak. But with regards to the picture of Ali Jomma, I will simply say that sometimes, we take from someone’s scholarship but not their politics, especially before we are more than aware of their positions. Sometimes, we make decisions based on what we know in that moment and change our positions as time goes on. I am not speaking on behalf of Imam Suhaib by any means on this picture or his personal position. I’m simply saying that we do not always know the entire story and our perspectives of those we once highly respected may change with new information we learn.
I say this and ask Allah to accept this from me, in these days of Dhul Hijjah, as defending the reputation of a scholar who has brought incredible good to me, to my family, to my community and to many around the world.
What I say are my perspectives alone and should not directly be attributed to Imam Suhaib.
For all of you who have shared this or feel it should be shared, please know that my above response is only a *minor* summary of general points I am addressing.
This article is slander. If you choose to continue to share it now knowing that someone who knows him personally attests to this, then know that is an incredibly grave offense to be held accountable for in front of God.
Setting the Record Straight Part One: I Lied About Sh. Bin Bazz (Allah have Mercy Upon Him) by Suhaib Webb
Of late there has been a few of folks who claim I lied about the esteemed scholar, Sh. Bin Bazz (God shower him with blessings) regarding his fatwa that permits a man to come to the west and marry with the intention of divorce. I tend not to respond to these kinds of things, but one website in particular has become vicious in its accusations. Below is a copy of his fatwa with a link to the page in Arabic. May Allah make us sincere and bless us to act with ethics.
Translation of the Fatwa
Marriage with the Intention of Divorce
I heard that you issued a fatwa (religious edict) that permits a man to marry in western countries with the intention of divorce after some time – at the time he completes his studies or research. What is the difference between that and mut’a? What happens if the women gives birth? Should he leave the child there with its mother? Please clarify.
“Yes! A fatwa was issued by the fatwa council that I am president over that allows divorce if the intention is kept between the man and his Lord (Meaning: he did not state it at the time of marriage). If a man marries in a western country and his intention is to divorce after he completes his studies, or if he is employed there for sometime and other such circumstances, then there is no harm, according to the majority of the scholars. That intention must remain between him and his lord (he should not utter it at the time of marriage) and he does not make it a condition (at the time of marriage).
The different between this and muta’ is that muta’ has a condition (stated or written at the time of marriage) that stipulates a known term such as a month, two months, a year or two years. Thus, when the conditioned time is up, the marriage is annulled. And that is mut’a that is considered false (according to the Sunnis).
However, if he marries according to the way prescribed by Allah and his Messenger (sa); but in his heart (he has the intention) that once he has completed his time in that country he will divorce her, then there is no harm in that and he could change his intention (he may opt to stay with her). This (is acceptable) if it is not known or (he makes it) a condition (in the contract), but is between him and his lord, then there is no harm.
This is a way for him to remain chaste and preserve his fidelity. This is the ruling of the majority of the scholars and was mentioned by the writer of al-Mughni, Muwafiq al-Din bin Qudāma (God have Mercy upon him).”
Link to the Sheikh’s Page and Actual Fatwa in Arabic
Here is a link to the fatwa from the a page that claims to represent the Sheikh. I have provided the Arabic below in case this link is changed, broken or deleted.
والفرق بينه وبين المتعة : أن نكاح المتعة يكون فيه شرط مدة معلومة كشهر أو شهرين أو سنة أو سنتين ونحو ذلك ، فإذا انقضت المدة المذكورة انفسخ النكاح ، هذا هو نكاح المتعة الباطل ، أما كونه تزوجها على سنة الله ورسوله ولكن في قلبه أنه متى انتهى من البلد سوف يطلقها ، فهذا لا يضره وهذه النية قد تتغير وليست معلومة وليست شرطا بل هي بينه وبين الله فلا يضره ذلك ، وهذا من أسباب عفته عن الزنى والفواحش ، وهذا قول جمهور أهل العلم ، حكاه عنهم صاحب المغني موفق الدين ابن قدامة رحمه الله .
Let me state that I do not agree with the sheikh’s opinion (God have mercy upon him). It was this fatwa that I was referencing in my Friday sermon
I was told by some sincere friends that the Sheikh (God have mercy upon him changed his opinion) and that I had made a mistake claiming he allowed it for citizenship and that I was wrong. For that reason, the following. Friday I noted that publicly and distanced the sheikh from my mistake. However, this fatwa is still found on his website, and it is extremely problematic
A Reminder to Hold to Principles in an Age of Slander
Let me add that no one should slander the Sheikh (God have mercy upon him). I vehemently disagree with this fatwa, but ideas should be dissected not people. The danger of the internet is that slander is fashion and principles are lost. I remind myself and whoever reads this, no matter how visceral you become – and you have a reason to be, cling to adab and articulate your frustration in a way that is better
The Oklahoma Beheading
As the horrid details of murder trickle from Oklahoma, I awoke today shocked to hear that FoxNews and other hate groups are trying to tie me to the criminal. Outside of poor journalism, a quick glance at their timeline reveals that this is simply impossible. I left Oklahoma in 2001 and never met the murderer. There is really not much more to say on that except that FOX and other “News” outlets are only damaging their credibility by reporting it.
Anwar and The FundRaiser
Another exercise in desperation comes from the likes of Charles Jacobs. Mr. Jacobs has a history of fanning the flames of Islamophobia, almost to the point of compulsion. One of his claims is that I did a fundraiser with Anwar al-Awlaki on September 9th, 2001. That is certainly true. But Mr. Jacobs makes it sound like we were in a cave somewhere plotting to overthrow the world. In reality, it was a public event attended by more than 500 people. History shows that this was at a time when, at least to our knowledge, Imam Anwar was a mainstream teacher who advocated voting and participation in public life. I would certainly not speak with the later Anwar or agree with his positions on anything. That being said, here is a list of attendees that evening that will clarify the attempts and intentions of Mr. Jacobs:
1. Sh. Hamza Yusuf
2. A California Rep. (I cannot remember who)
4. Dr. Maher Hathout
5. A host of Interfaith leaders and Student Organizations
In short, this is an attempt to paint reality through the lens of hatred and bigotry. I unconditionally denounce the teachings of the later Anwar, teachings that upset us all and caused so much pain. There is no room for murder in today’s world.
Another fictitious report is that I was “booted” by Governor Deval Patrick at the Boston Bombing service. While I was replaced, I was informed of it the night before and asked to be a special guest of the Governor. Throughout his term, Governor Patrick has shown great affection to the Muslim community in Boston, and we continue to work on a set of issues that are important to our state and communities.
The Boston Bombing
In another irresponsible report, FOXNEWs and others claim that the bombers attended the mosque I currently serve the ISBCC. In fact, the mosque that they attended was the ISB, not the ISBCC.
Reporting news is a trust between society and power. When news outlets refuse to look into the facts and report whatever the feel like reporting, serious questions about their journalistic integrity must be raised.
In a world filled by hate, FOX has served up a large plate of lies and irresponsible reporting, spiced with bigotry and hatred.