What did I just read?
Claptrap. Balderdash. Codswallop.
Where did I read it?
Asharis Assembled: Dawah Carriers Are Destroying Your Faith…And Having A Good Time In The Process
The obsession with Haitham Haddad and iERA over at Ashari's Assemble is sleep-inducing at the best of times but this article gave you the metaphorical caffeine jabs in the form of sheer stupidity and sheer irony interspersed with their usual diet of repetitive bashing of iERA folks. [For the record, I don't know any iERA folks. The truth is, I keep myself to myself and don't really interact much with many folks in the online dawah community - I'm a bit of a loner on that front. I say this just saw that folk know I have no personal horse in this race.]
Speaking about horses, can we blabber about the horse dung in SuedeNikita's broadside at iERA folk?
Firstly, I have no idea why Mr Asharis Assemble hopes that SuedeNikita looks like the cartoon figure. Mr Asharis Assemble, care to explain why you hope somebody looks like this:
I can already hear it: hostility, wailing, gnashing of teeth, suggestions for exorcism, even threats of violence. Masked takfir is a must. And the inevitable call for ‘unity’ against the onslaught of ‘the kuffaar’. There may even be emotional appeals such as ‘it affected my iman, how could you?!’
SuedeNikita, listen up? Do you hear anything? That sound is collective yawning. YAWWWWN!
I'm bored with this obsession with iERA, really!
However, your servings of metaphorical manure on your best plates (you know those that we keep hidden in a cupboard for that special guest/occasion) was far from boring It was entertaining because it was silly. Sometimes you watch something that's silly for purposes of entertainment, you were that person that we watched today but in written form.
I will get on to the sobre and inevitable calls for unity and discussions of jealousy and what have you but not yet. Let me indulge myself.
And of course: ‘These people defend Islam! They make huge sacrifices! What do you do eh?!’…’She’s a hater, she’s jealous’…’Ignore her’…’lets see you do better then’…’at least they are doing something! What have YOU ever done for Islam!?’…etc, etc, ad nauseum.
LOL, can I use text speak when addressing you? Well maybe Mr Asharis Assemble will think I'm a younger chap and hope that I look like some cartoon kid with knee pads on rather than Abe Simpson (for those who don't know, that's Homer's daddy - cue to Mr Asharis Assemble, always explain your jokes just in case!)
I don't think YOU are jealous. I agree with you, being somebody who defends Islam doesn't make one immune from error and/or criticism. I also bet you do a fair bit for the cause of Islam in your spare time too. Perhaps you do DO BETTER. Great if you do, fine if you don't.
Throwing Darts Phil Taylor Style
Far from being fonts of knowledge, their presentations consisted of authoritarian posturing, reminding the audience that they did not have the requisite Islamic ‘qualifications’ and telling them that that’s what Islam said and if they didn’t like it then ‘that’s the bottom line’ like some kind of bearded Steve Austin (yes, I am a girl and yes I watched pro wrestling).
They behaved strangely, unfamiliar with Western universities or even the wider society. They dressed strangely, spoke as if preaching to the converted and the struggled to contain their indignation at the mildest criticism or cross examination. Many threw public tantrums. But most persisted, drawn by the allure of influencing the young (what more worthwhile group to influence after all!) and perhaps even an appearance on ‘Newsnight’ to tell Paxman that Islam really was a religion of peace (or something reheated like that).
Of course, it ended badly: the scholars were famous amongst their own sectarian groups only, they usually did not have even a cursory mastery of the English idiom (or cultural quirks) and were frightfully out of touch with the issues of the day as well as the controversial questions of Islam and even religion and the belief in God that had been asked from time immemorial
I don't know if Sheikh Haitham Haddad, Riyad ul Haq and co. did poorly in their uni talks - they never came to my uni as far as I can remember. Surely they get some points for putting their heads above the parapet and trying? Surely, even you can stop throwing darts at pics of Hamza and Haitham for a few seconds and just recognise this...
And so what if they did struggle? So what. Really, so what? Let me say that again (after all you and Mr Asharis Assmble are like stuck records with your boring blabber about iERA et al). So what!
If an imam struggles to deal with the arguments from seemingly sophisticated opponents in uni is that their fault per se or is it the fault of a collective community called the ummah which has been stuck in the past? In fact, the mere recognition that these imams are struggling is actually a form of victory. How so?
Recently I was listening to some material from Sheikh Abdal Hakim Murad, he made mention of a finishing school for young imams which prepares them for the big, wide world. I think this is it:
So, while Mr Asharis Assemble is hoping you look like a cartoon character, I hope imams from this finishing school and others will do a better job in the future. A by-product of this would be that it should keep you in retirement like a beardless Stone Cold Steve Austin. Wait, did he have a beard? I think he may have had a goatee? Anyways, if he didn't; a beardless Daniel Bryan? (For Mr Asharis Assemble, that's the WWE champion - take a break from thinking about iERA and cartoon characters, google him!).
As academic as Stone Cold Steve Austin
But questions such as the age of Aisha (RA), sex with slaves, FGM and reliability of hadith that had been the mainstay of academic orientalists for years went by the wayside
LOL, sorry text speak again. For some reason I think academic orientalists aren't chatting too much about FGM, age of Aisha and sex with slaves. Think you're thinking about Robert Spencer and that crowd. They aint no academics! They are about as academic as Stone Cold Steve Austin
Behind the scenes, all sectarian affiliations were preserved – IERA, like Naik, would never talk about sectarian issues or shia/sunni – but they did that as a front only. Administratively, they were run by hardliners such as Haddad who would never be seen dead with an Ashari let alone a Shia.
Wow, that's irony being served on your best dishes, isn't it?
Sorry, to keep lobbing pro wrestling references in but hey, you and Mr Asharis Assemble are quite tedious so I will respond in kind; in wrestling they sometimes mock what's actually going on in their society with a play or a gimmick.
YOUR whole post is subsumed on sectarian division and your associate Mr Asharis Assmeble (the guy who hopes you look like the image above) runs a blog constantly prattling on about another sect and others of such sect.
Oh btw, I am not Salafi. But I call hypocrisy when I see it. You really do serve drivel on your best plates don't you...
The new ‘defenders’, the ‘Dawah Carriers’ had not learnt Islam nor secular sciences – they had learnt politics and misdirection.
Sounds hefty. What are you talking about? Really!
Did you just chuck that in there to keep people from falling asleep? You give no examples of this. More drivel on those plates. Hefty drivel! You're like, sorry another pro-wrestling reference, Ultimate Warrior, nobody knew what he was talking about half the time.
In fact, being a dawah guy was like being a rock star, just without the sex, drugs and rock and roll…well, maybe not without the sex: the ‘Big Three’ speakers of IERA during this period (Hamza Tzortzis, Adnan Rashid and AR Green) were all (or had been) coincidentally polygamous, the sunnah they had entirely randomly chosen to revive, you know instead of others such as redistribution of wealth or adopting orphans
Can you smell what the Rock (pro wrestling reference) is cooking? It smells like that smell when you go up north (England) into the countryside or even go abroad into the rural farming areas. Sniff up people and recognise what SuedeNikita is cooking. Smells like manure
You just piled a load of manure on those plates. And your venom for Hamza, Adnan and Mr Green inhibited you from seeing and smelling it.
I don't know the marital situation of these chaps (I don't care) but so what if they are polygamous? It's allowed in Islam. It doesn't impugn them one bit. Why would you even mention it? The Prophet was polygamous!
Why did you mention that? Really. Are you plain stupid?
Oh and how do you know they haven't adopted orphans or 'redistributed' wealth? Mr Asharis Assemble tell you that? Or did you just pluck it out of that plate of manure?
Inconsistency, sign of a failed hit piece
And only a cynic would say that they took any pleasure in this act (even, when, strangely, the second wife in each case was thereafter divorced after a very short period – but of course, only a cynic would say again that what in the West is called a’fling’ of a few months by a husband is called by these speakers a ‘second marriage’ or a ‘misyar’).
I guess this is the drink in the fancy glasses that have been in the cupboard all year, right? I mean those plates are piled sky high with nonsense so they can't hold anything else! I call this the drink as it flows. The inconsistency really flows here.
Recently Paul, who you praised in your piece (a bloke who has always been courteous and gentleman-like in my communication with him) was recently slandered with accusations of sexual impropriety. I never believed it and he admirably stood tall in the face of these false allegations (he of course confirmed they were false). He stood tall alongside the support of many Muslims and I saw NO Muslim accepting these allegations or spreading such.
Perhaps you were in your bedroom throwing darts at pics of iERA folk whilst this was happening? I and others were supporting Paul and standing by him. You, I suspect would have done the same (perhaps you did).
Yet you cannot even afford these iERA chaps the same decorum? In fact, you are looking to start the smear campaign. What makes you so different to those Christian right wingers that attacked Paul? They were motivated by a hatred for Paul. They were being malicious. I put it to you, you have allowed your hatred to wrong these three iERA chaps in a similar that hate-mongers attacked Paul. Why are you looking to smear these iERA folk with such claims? Don't answer. The answer is obvious - sectarianism.
Are you so blinded by sectarian division that you can't see the word 'inconsistency' is written all over your article!
'I got money on my mind'
So the dawah carriers were doing very well for themselves: fame, world travel, bringing back polygyny (hey, someone had to do it) and speaking at the Cambridge or Oxford Student Union (and when they got well known enough, a wage from IERA or at least a speakers fee).
I've already gave you a few suplexes (pro wrestling reference) for your inexplicable mention of polygamy so no need to go there again. I think you get the picture (and I don't mean Mr Ashari Assemble's cartoon image)
Shabir Ally makes money too I bet. Why are you not blabbering on about him? Wouldn't be surprised if Adam Deen does or has in the past. So what!
Guess cash going to a Salafi gets you all riled up. Oh, I was in Canary Wharf's shopping centre today and withdrew some cash - 50 quid notes. They gave me 50 quid notes from the cash machine!
(Sorry just wanted to tell you as I was so excited, I've lived a sheltered life and it was the first time I saw a 50 quid note)
Ahem, looking around a little red-face and going back to the subject sharpish, sectarianism can blind. It certainly has for you!
The 's' word
One could almost forget that nearly all of the Dawah carriers, like Tzortzis, were directly under the tutelage of the same group of ‘expelled’ and even extremist and sectarian scholars and banned groups (at least on campus) such as Hizb Ut Tahrir
Oh there's that word beginning with 's'. Sectarianism. You'll know a ton about that won't you...
I remember as a second year student in Newcastle when I first came across Hamza Tzortzis. It was on a Satellite Television Islamic channel that time (though I saw and met him many times in person as well) and he was not that well known. I was from a Muslim family, living away from home with the struggles and challenges that any young girl of my age has. University was tough – I was what they call conventionally attractive and I was also smart enough to know that guys were to get into my knickers whether they had a ‘Ramones’ T-shirt and a piecing or a beard and a thoub.
What the? I have no idea what that's about. Let's put it on par with my 50 quid note comment - complete irrelevance.
Samey, so what?
Tzortzis was a breath of fresh air: he lobbied for rational arguments for the existence of God, he said that morality had no basis without God and backed it up convincingly. And he could talk about how the ‘Big Bang’ proved Islam until the proverbial cows came home I went to my computer and set up a ‘Paypal’ account just so that I could donate to his website. I chased up all of his talks. Okay, it got a bit same-ey after a while, but there were debates and he was a great rhetorician. I was in love (intellectually of course).
Bit of a fan eh. You reckon along with your sectarianism this has something to do with your hatred and hit-piece? Psychologists would have an absolute field day here.
Robert Deniro and Wesley Snipes
Imagine my disappointment when I learnt that he had taken his arguments largely from an Evangelical Christian called William Lane Craig and another less well known but more honest speaker called Adam Deen, as opposed to from Al Ghazzali or the Asharite theologians as I had assumed.
I guess that's akin to the moment when you realise pro wrestling is fake?
Again, the psychologists would have a field day. Fan disappointed in their hero. Wasn't there a movie with Wesley Snipes and Deniro, where Deniro plays the jilted fan of the sports star (Snipes)and sets out to cause Snipes' character some misery?
The parallels with this movie and Asharis Assemble's blog with SuedeNikita similar to Deniro's character and Hamza like Snipes' character?
Also, let's stop with this nonsense that borrowing arguments is a bad thing. Adam Deen (whom I don't know personally) would have borrowed arguments from WLC and Shabir Ally in the past. Don't you not reckon? It's not a bad thing.
In fact, show me somebody who doesn't borrow arguments? Shabir is constantly quoting from Biblical scholars, he's not always producing his own arguments. Paul Williams too. A few may well be their original thoughts but the vast majority comes from elsewhere. It's fine. Why reinvent the wheel?
Let's stop with this double standard levelling faux-criticism at one but not the other.
Sleeper hold at Asharis Assmeble (Again!!)
I was shocked when I found he had absolutely no consistency – he would say whatever he had to to win. In short, the man I had mistaken for a Socrates was in fact a sophist. He borrowed arguments that were palatable for public relations purposes from sects of Islam, that he as a Salafist, deemed heretical (granted, these were on insignificant issues such as whether God exists or not, but still).
I'm shocked you have the temerity and gall to write 'consistency'. You operate inconsistency throughout your hit piece.
And there you go talking about Salafis again. Yawn.Yawn, You doing the sleeper hold (pro wrestling reference) on your readers? Yawn!
You touch on the weaknesses of Hamza Tzortzis and perceived mistakes.
I don't really follow him that closely, clearly you do, so I am not going to comment on his alleged 'gaffes'
Innuendos flow along with nonsense
He was supposed to be making it easy for British Muslims but he and his organisation were all for forcibly segregated events, his organisation would allow him to speak to women only audiences (nice work if you can get it guys eh?) but would not even allow Yvonne Ridley to speak to a mixed audience
There you go with the innuendos. What's that about? It says more about you than the iERA speakers!
And so what if they have segregated events? In the mosque we are segregated. I'll be honest, I would feel more comfortable in a segregated event when listening to an Islamic lecture in person. Most Muslims in the UK, I suspect are the same. Please chill out on this. Take a deep breath, nothing to see here.
As for Yvonne Ridley, I'm not sure what the ruling, reasoning or rationale is behind that. Maybe you want to find out and contact iERA rather than writing hit pieces about them...
I had indoctrinated my brother into the cult of the Dawah carriers and he became a helper to one of the most famous dawah organisations (which must needs remain anonymous). From him I heard about the lifestyle of some of the well known speakers, especially how they made the most of shall we say ‘access’ to women at segregated events.
Are you for real? Do you know how immature and silly you sound?
No evidence of this at all. You know when a pro wrestler mis-performs a move they call it a botch. I call that comment a botch.
Mr Asharis Assembled, please have a word.
Have I told you, I'm exotic and fashionable?
They were similarly keen to engage in e-mail correspondences and gave out their e-mail address to girls like me like Smarties. Less so to the guys at the events. ‘Organisers’ and ‘helpers’ were also forever coming up to me to ask if I was ‘looking’ (they meant for a husband). They paid particular attention to the marriage needs of converts or non-Asian or mixed race girls (like myself). Very liberal of them. Or maybe, like many other men, they were just after the exotic and the fashionable.
You're exotic and fashionable? You've already described yourself as knowing Arabic and being good-looking in an unconventional way.
What's that all about?
Mr Asharis Assmeble, is the cartoon image, exotic and fashionable? Is it good looking in an unconventional way?
BTW, a huge spider just crawled across my floor - that's about as irrelevant as the paragraph I just quoted - it has nothing to do with iERA - it's simply you blabbering on about you and your uni experience. Boring.
Let me eat my carrot cake
‘You do know what you are doing by helping out at these events don’t you?’ I told my brother, ‘You’re just like those guys who control the ‘backstage access’ at concerts or Hip-Hop shows. You’re just hoping for the left-overs from the famous guys aren’t you?!’. He didn’t contradict me. What was most ironic was that he was helping enforce segregation at Islamic talks for the express purpose of getting ‘access’ to the sisters!
Uh? So you run your brother under the bus in a comment that has nothing to do with iERA. I bet you, most of those folk that 'enforce' segregation' aren't like that. Whatever happened to not projecting the faults of the minority onto the majority? As Muslims shouldn't we not know better? After all we are regularly profiled as potential terrorists simply because of the mindless crimes of the few...
You know, I just remembered, I've got a slice of carrot cake to munch, you're keeping me from it. And yes, this comment is as irrelevant as the paragraph I quoted above.
Besmirching reputations of the sincere by prattling on...
Of course, not all Dawah personalities were like this, there were notable exceptions such as Paul Williams and Shabir Ally. But these people were more public Muslim intellectuals than Dawah personalities. And neither availed himself of the need to reinvigorate the practice of polygyny like Tzortzis and Co. Sadly, Williams and others like him were the exception rather than the rule.
Stop, will you just stop besmirching the reputation of every Muslim male speaker at a uni or a conference. Just stop with this retardation already.
You have no evidence of this. None whatsoever. You just prattle on and make intimations that impugn the majority of decent people who are striving to offer something positive to the community... A community that is in need of such positivity.
You clearly have some baggage. The sad thing is, Asharis Assemble and yourself are blinded from seeing it's an embarrassment to yourselves. Wake up.
So Shabir didn't take a second wife? Does that make him more worthy than somebody who did? What if he took a second wife tomorrow? Would that make him less worthy? Of course not.
What a silly comment by you (again)! Can you go back and look into the lives of Prophets and Muslim scholars and count how many did have more than one wife and then rephrase your comments or better still expunge them.
Oh, You're not exactly Miss Current Affairs are you? Paul (God bless him) isn't going to take a second wife!
Anther Oh... as for Paul and Shabir being intellectuals, they are indeed learned figures in their respective areas who people can benefit from. There are actually many others like them or have the potential to have such reputations; Zakir Hussain, Ijaz Ahmad, Bassam Zawadi (I love this guy), Abdullah Al Andalusi, Sami Zaatari etc. are all very young chaps who are already accomplished to varying degrees - support and encourage them and they may well be the next Shabir Ally, Ali Ataie or Paul Williams.
Smearing young apologists and speakers is not going to bode too well for the community.
You can call a trumpet hollow, right?
Having studied Islam, I was shocked by the amateurish antics of IERA and other speakers
Exotic, fashionable, good-looking, Arabic speaking and having studied Islam. Wow, you really do blow your own trumpet don't you.
You fail to furnish the reader with a number of examples of ameuterism that shocked such a learned person. You seem to have a habit of making hefty claims which are ultimately hollow - just like your trumpet.
The alarm bell is ringing, wake up!
He shocked me by announcing that even if I was truthful in what I had said, in dawah it must be defended that she was nine since that was what was the belief of some Muslims. I will let the reader fathom the stupidity of defending every view of every Muslim
Hello! The stupidity is all yours actually. Islamophobes quote clear ahadith mentioning the age to be nine.
Here's professor Jonathon Brown, who I suspect you respect, proclaiming the view that Aisha (ra) was 9 at the time of marriage:
It seems like you've been reading too much Asharis Assembled and fallen asleep. Wake up from your slumber!
So there you have it, most of the so called ‘Dawah movement’ is a feel good initiative aimed at under siege and under confident Muslims.
No kidding Sherlock. What's wrong with focussing a movement for Muslims who are being challenged to the extent that some are even losing their faith - it would be irresponsible not to focus on these people. Not all Muslims are so well learned in Islam and confident in Islam as you.
I throughout the years have received emails from Muslims asking for help/clarity. This from young Muslims on the net. I am not worthy of answering such questions. Perhaps some time soon, learned people like you will stop grinding axes and put their sectarianism to one side and actually do a bit more to help these 'under confident Muslims'. That's what Shabir Ally has done - try taking a leaf out of his book. That's what Yasir Qadhi has done. Try imitating him. That's what Hamza Yusuf is doing. That's what AbdurRaheem Green is doing? Oh wait, you can't see that about Mr Green because all you see is a Salafi.
Further, they have left the issues which really need an answer, such as slavery, FGM etc, for which Islam indeed has good answers, as you can see on this very site, untouched.
Stop sniping at somebody you saw back at uni. Step to it and start answering...
Further, females need to be warned that famous speakers such as Hamza Tzortzis seemingly lead a polyamorous lifestyle which is facilitated by their ‘celebrity speaker’ status.
Have a look at the lifestyle of most dawah carriers and you will be equally careful about getting backstage at their events too…
That was your last dig. Pathetic.
You try to sully the name of 'most dawah carriers' because Hamza had or has more than one wife (which is legitimate in Islam). Only the silly will pay your swipe any heed.
You really do carry strange baggage along with your sectarianism.
That little hit piece said more about you than it said about any of those that you mentioned.
Wow, I'm tired.
OK SuedeNikita, I actually share some of the sentiments and points that you expressed; the frustration at the lack of evolution in dawah argumentation is one such sentiment I agree with.
Here's the thing, you can't change anything by sniping from the outside like the way you are doing. You're simply repelling people. If you really want to change things you try to pass on your concerns and advice and/or lead by example. If you have only produced hit pieces on iERA and not produced anything to defend Islam or promote it online then that's a travesty.
It takes a lot out of your private life; working and/or studying along with defending and promoting Islam is quite a lot to put into your schedule. Sure people make mistakes, but more often than not these dawah peeps do more good than bad. Isn't it our job to advise them as well-wishers concerning their mistakes rather than looking to totally destroy and discredit them. Nobody is doing dawah to pick up women. Nobody. It's pure folly to claim otherwise. Nobody is getting rich out of dawah in the UK. Nobody.
My view about Muslim apologists and apologetics is that there can be competition and rivalry as the devil plays tricks with people. Jealousy and ego are the tools of Satan that he uses to divide us. I would be very surprised if nobody has struggled with jealousy and/or ego in the dawah community. Those who are the focus of jealousy are generally the more popular ones such as iERA.
I, like the majority of internet Muslims have no personal horses. We don't care if Adnan Rashid makes Richard Dawkins look like a blithering idiot or whether it's Adam Deen or Mr Green. We don't care if it's Paul Williams or Shabir Ally or Hamza Tzortzis who defeat a Christian in debate for Islam.
As long as Islam prevails we are happy. I have a feel for the online Muslims, I really believe they don't care. We care for and respect those who are doing a service for Islam.
I also believe they, like me, are deeply hurt and disappointed to see dawah personalities ,that they grew up with or helped them with some difficult question at the back of their mind, arguing with and smearing each other in such a pathetic manner.
Really, if young teen Muslims online can see the folly in the infighting then so can the dawah carriers. And if they can't, let them move on and let's have some worthy folk saddle up and take the lead.
Just a reminder, if you're a debater or public speaker you work for the benefit of Islam - not yourself. If you don't want to play by those rules, then you know where the door is...
(Please do think about your article, if you remove yours (up to you - I hope you put pride aside) I will remove this article as a good will gesture - please also note I hope the style I wrote in demonstrates to you how it feels like to be on the end of stinging comments - it's not nice - it's even worse when your don't hide being anonymity and have a load of innuendos and malice thrown your way)
Proving you can have your cake and eat it; I'm off to eat my cake!