Imam Suhaib Webb – Don’t Be Ashamed

Imam Suhaib Webb at the 2nd Annual Global Peace and Unity Conference in the UK:

…The topics addressed include the qualities of the Ummah, being conscious law abiding Western Muslims, Islamic unity, and the youth

Video Excerpts:

You can listen to singers, you should listen to your imams.

We need to eschew being sufi or salafi or ikhwani or tableeghi and realize that first and foremost we are Muslims.

Ibn Hajar al Asqalani, a sufi and an Ashari criticized Ibn Taymiyyah but said that Ibn Taymiyyah has a right to these decisions because of his level in knowledge.

I am a child of the west, I am an American Muslim and I have no shame, it is not an antonym for me to say American and Muslim.

Integration

More important than the debate surrounding niqab in terms of intergration is the fact that many immigrants and children of immigrants in the Britain, do not feel able to be a part of the British identity.

I look at my cousins that were born and raised in the UK and still identify solely as Nigerian never British nor English. Those of us that were born and raised in the US and even my mother that has since become a naturalized American citizen see ourselves as Nigerian-American or Americans of Nigerian descent.

Useless Disunity & Sectarianism

There is far too much immature and un-nuanced debate about differences amongst Muslims. There are sufis that cannot find anything good to say about salafis but have no problem working with and praising non-Muslims. Nonsense.

There are those that claim to be following some form of tawsawuf, 1400 years of tradition, and one of the four madhabs yet they have so much rancour in their hearts for their salafo-wahabbi brethren whom they also claim are rank modernists although not progressives with an innovated and corrupted ideology which began in the 18th century. Nonsense.

There are super zealous salafis that think they are on the only ones on the haqq and claim to be following the real shuyukh that all happen to reside in Saudi Arabia. I once saw a list of the supposed real salafi masajid in the US and the list did not have more than 20-30 masajid on it and that is being generous, all of the rest were deviant. Much of their advice comes couched in clichéd phrases like “don’t you know that the scholars have warned us against so and so”, “there are no scholars in the west”, and “you have to submit to the haqq”. Nonsense.

Hijrah & Western Muslim Identity

The debate around whether or not hijrah is an obligation and western Muslim identity is extremely pertinent. So often, as Dr. Sherman Jackson points out that Muslims in the west and their cultural traditons are devalued, mocked, and ignored by those coming from predominantly Muslim countries who stubbornly cling to their own cultural traditions.

Many Muslims in the west encounter an atmosphere in which they feel a need to legitimize their Islam to appease foreign or immigrant Muslims attitudes. Some of these western Muslims are ashamed of their own cultures and identities and desire to imitate these imported cultural customs by changing their names, wearing non-western clothes, moving abroad, marrying immigrants, cooking non-Western foods (it’s a rare occurence but always a refreshing surprise to have staple American dishes af iftars), and parroting foreign accents all in an attempt to legitimize or validate their Islam as if the qadr of their birth in or emigration to a western country is something of which to be ashamed.

Well I, like Imam Suhaib am not ashamed of being a western Muslim. Islam does not just belong to people in Muslim countries with stereotypical “Muslim” names that like to eat biryani and qatayef. Islam belongs to us western Muslims as well and we are not going anywhere.

Islam has universal values and a system of built-in flexibility so that the understanding and application of these values vary between cultures. It is therefore, not surprising that the manifestations of Islam in Saudi Arabia differ from that in Egypt, Senegal, South Africa, Bosnia, India, China, Indonesia, and America.

Shout out to Rabbi Zidni Ilma.

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Author: Ify Okoye

Muslim woman, RN, & rebel with a cause.

12 thoughts on “Imam Suhaib Webb – Don’t Be Ashamed”

  1. Salaam ‘alaykum,

    I’ve never heard Imam Webb speak so thank you for posting that. I wish I had known more imams when I was growing up who were willing to say “Even if you make a mistake, we’ve got your back.”

    Too many young Muslims, myself included, turned off the path because of a lack of support and understanding (among other factors, of course).

    Well I, like Imam Suhaib am not ashamed of being a western Muslim. Islam does not just belong to people in Muslim countries with stereotypical “Muslim” names that like to eat biryani and qatayef. Islam belongs to us western Muslims as well and we are not going anywhere.

    Sing it, sister. You got that right.

    Warmly,
    Baraka

  2. assalamu alikeum

    I watched this on the day alhmdualiah and I think his speech was for me the best, along with Sheik Salaman Al Oudah.

    I agree with sis baraka, that we need more imams like him. If we did have, our youth would be in a better state and more confident and proud of being muslims in the world today, especially where being a muslim thing is looked negatively upon by sections of wider society. These young people would have also had a better understand of islam and break down the social and racial barriers constructed by society, including the ones their parents came from. Unfortunately, what we got instead were imams from certain sections of the world who had a particular fiqh and there was never no room for discussion. Imams who had no idea about the society that western muslim young people grew up because many never interacted with the wider community. Imams who can’t even communicate with these kids because they can’t speak the language of the land (even though many have been here for 20yrs plus) and Imams who focus too much on cultural norms which many a times are repressive and unislamic and have used this against muslim youths for years – thus making many run in the direction towards disbelief.

    Anyways, his speech really moved me and the way he speaks is just very powerful and captivating. You can’t help but wish he was your local imam, cos you know someone like him, muslim youths in particular would confide in and trust. Me thinks he needs to get back to the U.S soon inshallah (or even better come to London, U.K lol ) because we need him more then they do in Cario!

  3. “We need to eschew being sufi or salafi or ikhwani or tableeghi and realize that first and foremost we are Muslims.

    Ibn Hajar al Asqalani, a sufi and an Ashari criticized Ibn Taymiyyah but said that Ibn Taymiyyah has a right to these decisions because of his level in knowledge.”

    EXACTLY!

  4. Mashallah, the speech by Imam Suhaib was very inspiring and encouraging. Inshallah more imams and more of the older generation will try a bit harder to understand us muslims who have been born and brought up in a western society and are constantly surrounded by things that can make us lose our way. We need guidance and support, not people to frown at us and make us feel ashamed.
    I definately agree that we need to become a stronger ummah and remember that we are all muslims and we need to work together to help eachother.
    Inshallah, together we can break pakistani/indian traditions and cultures and do whats islamic!

    Aiysha

  5. Asalamu alaykum,

    Aiysha:
    I agree that we need more imams in tune with the culture and issues facing the generations of Muslims living in the west.

    Ruth: Mothers of the Believers by Imam Suhaib rocks. There are still certain moments I remember from that series of lectures that I’ve kept with me and try to or have implemented in my own life.

  6. Salam Alaikum ,

    I was hoping that i could come into contact with Imam Suhaib Webb and ask him questions to help me. If anyone has it please leave me it.

  7. al salam alekom
    i am proud to see people as you talk
    in islam as you do you are great
    i ask allah to help you and us to convey
    the islam message to all over the world
    masha allah .
    but sheikh i wish i could have your email
    i want to ask you for some thing
    i am muslim girl living in sweden and i wish you could
    help me
    thank you in advance.

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