Be Imam Hussain in the face of Yazeed today

Be Imam Hussain in the face of Yazeed today

Where to begin?

One of our own respected scholars has come under fire for simply stating laws from Islamic sharia.

Shaykh Hamza Sodagar was recently invited to the UK to deliver lectures for the holy month of Moharram, when an old clip of him speaking about homosexuality and its punishment under Islamic law, was unearthed.

How old is this clip? SIX YEARS OLD.

Was he encouraging this punishment? No.

But yet he has been forced to step down from giving speeches, and is being branded as a hate monger, and having “unacceptable views.”

More interesting is the fact that fellow Muslims are the ones also raising the pitchforks. Dare I ask why Shaykh’s views are unacceptable when he is simply stating what is written in our Islamic sharia code?

One Muslim had the audacity to claim on social media that “[Shaykh’s] views are unacceptable and have no place in any faith.”

Are you really that thick? What faith then do you claim to follow? Do you not know that every major monotheistic religion has something in their texts (at least in their original texts) against homosexuality? Now it’s one thing to say that Christianity and Judaism has changed to allow for it. Islam, however, cannot be changed with a Sharpie. The Holy Qur’an cannot be revised nor tampered with. It is what it is.

Does that mean we should go around following edicts without context? No, of course not. In fact, if the entire clip is viewed in its entirety, which I doubt many of those attacking Shaykh Hamza actually did, you can see that Shaykh mentions in what circumstances that punishment is even deliverable. In layman’s terms – it’s near impossible today.

Bottom line: No one is advocating violence towards homosexuals. But you can’t candy coat it. Homosexuality is not allowed in Islam.

So in this culture of social media how does one go back to understanding? Investigation? Research? Is it all dead?

What do you call it when someone digs up something you said SIX YEARS AGO, or THREE YEARS AGO, in Shaykh Farrokh Sekaleshfar’s case, and while taking it out of context, uses it against them? What do you call that?

Where are the standards on how to act like a civilized people?

It is a plan, everyone. A heinous, evil plan, that is trying to warp our image of Islam. Like I have said before, many secularists are quite insecure with Islam and it’s power and popularity among the masses. It is the fastest growing religion in the world, and we should be proud of that.

“If you’re not careful, the newspapers will have you hating the people who are being oppressed, and loving the people who are doing the oppressing.” – Malcolm X

Islam is the only major religion in the world where a majority of the adherents still continue to practice it as a complete way of life. Muslim women wear hijab at work, while fencing at the Olympics, and as flight attendants. When it is time for prayer, you can see Muslims praying in the airport, in the park, at school, etc. During the month of Ramadan, you can find us fasting while sitting in class, shopping, or playing professional basketball. It means adultery, gambling, drinking, premarital sex, etc. – all common practices in societies around the world – are looked down upon.

But that’s just it. It hits many secular countries right in the gut. In reference to the recent burkini ban in France, it seemed like a chance to just stir up trouble. Cue French lawmakers: “How can a woman go fully dressed in the water and actually enjoy herself? Why, it’s unheard of! And if not, we should make it that way.”

Don’t forget the degrading cartoons of the Prophet Mohammad (peace be upon him), which were touted as ‘freedom of speech.’ This is what the Western secular powers want us to believe. Because Prophet Jesus is always the laughingstock of comedy shows, Prophet Mohammad should also be fair game. Bottom line: Degrading a revered figure of any religion should be discouraged.

During that whole debacle, moderate Muslims didn’t know where to turn – if you showed anger, you were an extremist, forcing many to quietly succumb to the notion, that yes, it is actually freedom of speech. Right? But as many in the West have noticed, Muslims don’t sit quietly when any prophet, especially Prophet Mohammad, is insulted. We care about our religion, our tenets, and our prophets and leaders. We have pride in our faith, even if secular society wants us to have no values.

So as many Muslims living in the West, we fully support ‘Western’ notions of “innocent until proven guilty” and “freedom of speech,” unless, of course, we anger the Western gods. Meaning if a scholar is stating something regarding homosexuality mentioned in Islamic law in an academic setting – THAT is called “inciting hatred.”

So wait. It’s freedom of speech when we badmouth the Prophet of Islam. But it’s not freedom of speech when you mention a part of Islamic law that is not in favor of homosexuality? What about when those cartoons were meant to incite hatred? Where were these Muslims to defend these “unacceptable views”?

Not to mention Shaykh Hamza was mentioning law punishing homosexuality that cannot even be implemented UNLESS in a specific parameter. It is like the popularly misunderstood law (see the cartoon movie, Aladdin) of cutting off someone’s hand if they are caught stealing. There are actually a number of sub-rules before actually cutting off any limb. Does anyone bother to explain this? Thanks Disney, by the way, for increasing the ignorance.

But this is what any decent, respectable scholar tries to do. Explain the laws that need explaining, so that people don’t go around doing the wrong thing. This is not meant to throw out there in the social media universe without context. And worse, use it to give him a bad reputation.

The now-infamous clip was recorded SIX YEARS AGO. Why do I keep capitalizing on the fact that it was SIX YEARS AGO? To prove that we are all falling into the trap of caring about things when others make it so. Did you know that the clip actually surfaced sometime this summer, but not surprisingly, wasn’t important enough to those Western powers to utilize until now. Until Moharram.

So when many Muslims are remembering Imam Hussain’s stand against the oppressive rule of Yazeed ibne Muawiya, secular powers and sadly even some Muslims are out dividing communities and trying to pull away from the beautiful message of Imam Hussain, his family and his comrades. The life lessons we pull from Karbala are game changing. The concepts of love of God, living with dignity, never standing silent in the face of injustice, loyalty and sacrifice – this is what we learn from Imam Hussain.

But thanks to the Yazeed of today, communities in the UK are being deprived of a scholar who does not have a history of inciting hate, or spewing ill-informed opinions. Instead his words spoken SIX YEARS AGO in a purely educational setting are being used against him. And not just by non-Muslims. By our own Muslims.

Shame on those Muslims who have fallen in this trap of secularism. How cheap is your religion that you sell it out to the first viral tweet? Have some courage to ask questions and demand explanations.

This is not the first scholar fallen victim to this charade. Another respected scholar, Shaykh Farrokh Sekaleshfar, was also attacked earlier this year for talking about homosexuality in an academic setting THREE YEARS AGO, and it was used against him to connect him somehow the media will find a way if you wait long enough in the unfortunate Orlando gay club massacre.

You want questions? Ask. You need clarity? Ask. Why are we going back to the age of ignorance? These Muslim scholars are humble, well-respected, intelligent – not of the likes of those “religious people” who advocate division among sects, burn Qur’ans, or those who attend funerals with hateful placards.

I speak mostly to my fellow Muslim brothers and sisters. Please be aware of these tactics meant to divide communities. And especially during these holy days of Moharram. Don’t fall prey to this game. In this age of 140 character defamation, there is little room for understanding. Islam advocates asking questions and trying to understand. Don’t let secularists attack those scholars who actually try to embody this principle.

During this holy month of Moharram I ask all of those who follow Imam Hussain (as) – what do you think he was trying to do in Karbala? He was standing against a ruler who had manipulated Islam for his own gain and pleasure. He refused to accept this. Please don’t stand idly by and let them do it today.

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