We know…Now what? with Imam Suhaib Webb

Imam Suhaib Webb

“We know…now what?”

MAS youth panel discussion on social issues relating to youth

University of Michigan Dearborn

Oct. 10, 2009

–          we’re not rewarded for the work we’re rewarded for the effort

–          sometimes we set expectations of what we should achieve ridiculously and unreasonably high which can cause depression for those who we try to put those standards, this utopic vision can be very dehibilitating

–          Its not about perfection its about the effort you put into it but we never reflect on that

–          First support for a muslim is by believing in Allah bc that’s our support ultimately so first thing is to nurture strong iman

–          As far as utopic vision, people think that islam has a set of constructs that encourages us to be eutopian, but prophet said the one who is extreme is destroyed three times, within muslim community we have people pushing this utopic vision

–          Imam Shatari said Islam takes a moderate vision because 1-people will hate the religion and 2- people won’t be able to practice the religion

–          We have a very eutopic understanding of how to be muslim but prophet said people make many mistakes and the best of and those are those that repent to god

–          Depression topic ends.

–          Issue of sexuality discussion begins

–          Dr. Sameera Ahmed: often think that this doesn’t affect the Muslim community, her research shows 40-60% of muslim youth are sexually active meaning almost every other person we know. These aren’t individuals who don’t attend the masjid, we as a community ignore that it exists, we need to be real and discuss what is to be done and how to deal with it. 1. It is a reality 2. How are we dealing with it 3. How can we as individuals address it and as a community support others who are dealing with this

–          Audience response: in Islam even if your mistakes are from the floor to the sky we are always able to seek forgiveness

–          Imam Suhaib: these are not people who are on the periphery of the community

–          Desire in Arabic means to fall down, profound hwo this is the word for desire

–          What would cause someone to choose the opposite of the shade of Allah

–          Audience: lack of support and love or relationship within the community

–          Imam suhaib: sisters are devalued very much In the community, they often devalue themselves

–          Audience: men are able to get away with making a mistake but girls not on same level, in the smaller communities even bringing up the issues such as sexuality its seen as if it’s haram we have to address it through the masjid but its not acceptable by the community yet

–          Audience: it often comes down to a weakness of iman,we often harp on the don’ts in islam but we don’t ever discuss why, why do we wear hijab, why do we have these gender relations

–          Audience (male): we have to get a six figure salary, finish our degree, and find a girl our mom likes a very big challenge

–          Dr. Ahmed: culturally speaking within the highschool culture, if you haven’t been sexually active you’re not a man. It is male responsibility often but also what’s going on with them? There’s an external pressure pushing them as well

–          Audience: part of problem some of our cultural values inhibit the natural relationship between young muslim men and women, found in research we’re constantly being socialized with nonmuslim women, if they normally interacted with muslim girls then they don’t learn the boundaries, we make kids feel shamed of realizing the value of each other

–          “Jihad of the Soul” a book by Zarina ElAmin

–          Audience: none of the muslim girls sign up for programs at public schools that provide programming that supports them because it is seen as a non-muslim organization and we don’t want our daughters to hear this, maybe later on but they should hear this from a younger age because who are they going to talk to other than their peers

–          Imam Suhaib: are constructs of sexuality built inside the home or in society?

–          Dr. Ahmed: what we find is a combination of both, parental role teaches a lot about sexuality what’s appropriate and what isn’t depending on the interaction the parents have with their kids, one of the factosr that can change the impact of this environment is the family. What happens is many of our families are dysfunctional and society gives us mixed messages so we become confused.

–          Imam Suhaib: what role then does pornography have? There’s a lot of virgin marriages where both men and women find they don’t treat each other with respect and finds that in those marriages often one or the other has a background in pornography.

–          Imam Suhaib: we’ve become very liberal to the extent that the conservative opinion isn’t respected either, we see music having a very negative impact on young people, and we can see that a majority of scholars themselves say that music is forbidden

–          Audience: if you listen to it enough, you become what you hear

–          Imam Suhaib: the example of the heart is one with many doors and those doors are eyes, ears, mouth, what we touch, what we feel

–          Dr. Amal Killawi: pornography is every and anonymous, if we can’t talk about pornography what does it tell us about why we can’t talk about it? It’s because there’s shame, and if there’s shame in talking about it, isn’t it a sign that there’s shame in pornography itself as well? Same as music, pornography hurts marriages because just as music impacts your behavior pornography will do the same

–          Imam Suhaib: how do we solve this problem in our community of facilitating marriage for people in the community. How would you suggest/give advice to someone who is addicted to pornography or has had a sexual relationship besides fear Allah?

–          Audience: involve yourself with something in the community that keeps you busy so it takes away the time that you do something that keeps you away from that

–          Audience: you are the company you keep, if you have good company then you’ll hopefully have good influences around you, if your friends do things that

–          Imam Suhaib: Hadith of rock that fell in front of cave that blocked it and they all supplicated and it moved, one of things is if they weren’t with three righteous people the rock wouldn’t have moved

–          Dr. Amal Killawi: where do we draw the line? We know things that are halal and haram but where do we draw the line? Also with pornography, what are the triggers? Hungry, angry, lonely, and tired: HALT are triggers they have identified that could trigger someone in a situation to take that route and utilize pornography

–          Audience: hadith of the prophet and a companion that told him I love Islam but I love zina (adultery) and prophet told him what if it was someone in your family (your mother, daughter, sister); these girls are your relatives too and we should protect them like we’d protect our own relatives as well so when we’re on facebook, chatting, in person, etc. be cognizant of that

  • We should cut out these things that 24/7 tell you go have sex like tv, music, etc

–          Audience: There’s a website, Christian based but not conversion oriented, called xxxchurch.com  and what you do is sign yourself up and three people that you confide in and every time you go to that website it sends it to those three people so they can

–          Dr. Amal Killawi: There’s muslim accountability circle, go to www.noporn.com they have a group for muslims that are struggling with this issue

–          Dr. Sameera Ahmed: a lot of times we say that’s okay that person is non-Muslim, but they’re human so why is it any different, have to start thinking of that person as human first and think would I want that to happen to my sister, etc.

–          Audience: “Guidelands : The Perilous World of going from boys to men” by Michael Kimmel book that a sociologist that boys discuss how we become a man in society

–          Dr. Amal Killawi: google sex addiction or go to healthysex.com there’s an author Wendy Maultz wrote the book “The Porn Trap” and on her website you can find resources for those 12 step sex addiction programs

–          Imam Suhaib: two recurring themes, one is support/environment and the other is responsibility. One of them is having very strong youth oriented groups, Umar said there’s no Islam without jamaa (a group), MSA or groups similar really help provide that support group

–          Dr. Sameera Ahmed: small groups of halaqa as opposed to large groups because you foster the need to belong and if you struggle with issues you can talk to each other about what’s going on and work through the issues together, we encourage people to have real social alternatives for young people there’s no fun in the Muslim community

–          Imam Suhaib: importance of having a shaykh, Prophet was asked what people are the best to sit with and He (SAW) said when you sit with him it remembers you of Allah, so its important to have a shaykh who is accessible that can walk through a lot of the problems we may have with Quran and Sunnah; wise man builds his house on Allah

–          Local services to take advantage of

  • Muslim Family Services 313 366 6800
  • ACCESS 313 945 8380

–          Imam Suhaib’s closing remarks:

–          Need to realize if we don’t address our problems someone else will address them for us, so we should encourage and continue to have such programs

–          In usul al fiqh, one of the most important beliefs is surveys so we need to move beyond what the community needs and get into empirical data

–          Need to happen more often where it’s not just a one way communication, community’s feedback is important

–          Need to focus more on practical solutions and form some organized work in the community from it

–          What practical solutions do you have for such problems? Post comments if you have any advice or solutions


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