Given current events in the US and how it’s galvanising people here in the UK, I’ll be sharing some shar’ī inspired thoughts on race, prejudice, and political activism.
As ever, I speak to a British context not an American one, and I’m fully aware that what I may say about things in the UK will probably be inadequate for an American context, not to mention the unique struggles of African Americans.
For brevity, I won’t be unpacking everything I post into bullet point form although I will try to be as clear as possible. Please try to understand that there’s a lot behind these posts, and just because I’m making one point, it doesn’t mean I’m being binary or negating other things on the spectrum.
Now, there are various perspectives to approach and deal with anti-racism:
- Secular liberal
- Shar’ī (Abrahamic)
The nature of these posts is to expound on a shar’ī and Abrahamic perspective.
I acknowledge that even within the shar’ī perspective, there are competing and divergent modes and interpretations of the prophetic way. Some are reductive, some misinformed, and some heavily concentrated on specific points/prophetic events, missing the bigger picture. I acknowledge everyone’s trying their best, and the intent behind my posts is the hope to develop the nature of the conversation.
Some might respond with the customary: “Well you have no right to do that, just listen!” But such a response is misguided for those committed to the shar’ī (Abrahamic) perspective and speaking to one of their own, and whilst perfectly legitimate for liberal and post-colonial approaches, it overlooks our attitude that frames it as a group of believers mutually working together to constructively address the experience faced by some of them.
For a simplified characterisation between (1) the liberal and post-colonial approaches and (2) the shar’ī (Abrahamic) one, the following puts both approaches in a grievance and response formula:
- “Look what they do to us.”…“That’s injustice, just tell us what to do to help your community/people.”
- “Brethren, look what they did to some of us (believers).”…“Glory is only for God (Subhanallah)! What they have done offends God and takes the ways of pagans (jāhilīyah) whom the messengers of God were sent to guide or resist, so we too shall do the same. What they have done is done to us all – let’s strategise the best way to proceed.”
Now the point isn’t to silence raw emotions nor negate how subjected people might feel but we must realise that there are variant exercises depending on the objectives of the conversation. There is the initial listening exercise to hear the grievance and condition of those being offended, and then there’s the strategy as to how we all (the believers) can collectively deal with the affront and reinforce one another like “a well-compacted structure” as God puts it.
I’m cognisant that there have developed so-called “correct” ways of talking about things. On one side we have those who police what ‘black’ expression and protest should be like according to what makes such monitors comfortable, and on the other there are approaches by specific (Black) groups who demand compliance to their narrative, as if to homogenise all racialised blacks and the approaches they take on these issues. Of course, liberal and post-colonial approaches have a great deal of valuable insights we ought to consider, but everything that we might take on board is framed within an Abrahamic context and God’s account of reality, since God’s guidance is the only true guidance.
I understand that many will still find what I’m saying here to be somewhat ambiguous: “What does he mean and what’s he saying?” And with that comes the hesitancy to engage with me in a neutral fashion. Hopefully, the following posts will begin to illustrate where I’m coming from. In these posts, I may challenge some of the approaches believers have instinctively adopted, but it’s to do with constructively moving forward as believers. Again, my first principles to such issues are taken from the sharī’ah, so whilst there might be an ‘anti blackness solidarity framework’ from which to discuss things or approach them, believers are not morally obliged to adopt it, nor acquiesce to it. And yes, I’ve used the term “we” because I do not differentiate between believers – if they’re targeted and mistreated, then it’s our concern. Whilst believers ought to support anti-Jāhilīyah (regressive ideas that ultimately source from paganism and superstition) movements irrespective of faith, our fraternal bonds with true believers are naturally stronger with those who are subservient to God in the way He wills it, and the more in-sync that outlook the closer those bonds will naturally be.
Please note that these posts do NOT discount wider solidarity with non-believers who experience immoral prejudice, I’m simply focusing on what a wider shar’ī agenda compels us to consider. Whether it’s an Abrahamic framework or it comes to wider solidarity, whatever we do is focused from, and tempered by, the Abrahamic ways and a godly outlook to which we invite all. That’s our fundamental basis in all things.