God speaks to us, if only we would listen. God speaks to us through the unfolding of history and through the lessons that we learn within ourselves. God speaks to us through our triumphs, celebrations, tragedies and sorrows. God speaks to us, communicating the divine wisdom of creation and the supernal truth of God's being, if only we would listen. God talks to us through the Revelation, through the Qur'an, that has warned us of everything that we have experienced, are experiencing and will experience, if only we would listen.
We are living through a pandemic that forces its logic upon us. A pandemic that is full of nuanced lessons. These lessons are divine, they are God talking to us. In this pandemic, thousands upon thousands of people fall ill every day. It is impossible to predict who will fall ill and who will not. Most recuperate, but of course, some never do. This pandemic is a stark reminder of the power of nature and the power of the Owner, Malik al-Mulk, the Owner of this creation, but it is also a stark reminder and a message to look deeply within. Remarkably, this pandemic is a lesson in fear, anxiety, and dread.
So many of us worry about the consequences if we were to fall ill, if a loved one falls ill or if someone who is vulnerable falls ill, but at the same time, for every Muslim of conscience, it is a divinely crafted lesson in the realities of public fear and public anxiety. While in the United States, we can take logical steps to protect ourselves in this pandemic, we can easily do COVID tests and obtain vaccinations, the reality is that hundreds of millions of people in the underdeveloped parts of the world do not have that luxury. They are not in a position to take COVID tests when they need to do them, or to obtain vaccinations when needed, and they simply have to take on the threat of the pandemic in a Russian Roulette-esque fashion.
God is reminding us of the stark inequities that plague our world, and the lessons do not stop there. It is not just that the availability of medicine is grossly unequal throughout the world; nor is it just that we live in a world in which the reality is, regardless of our principles that we enshrine in the United Nations Charter and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, that human beings are grossly unequal. It is so, even in the United States. When we are confronted with the painful news of a fire that breaks out in grossly substandard housing in New York - and it just so happens that all of the victims of this fire are Muslim - it is an underscore of the inequities within the United States.
The people living in these housing projects were all confronted with severely substandard living conditions. Because of the pandemic, all of them were late on their rents and were facing the very real possibility of eviction. The landlords, due to their greed, for a long time have refused to bring these buildings up to code, and those who rented the property could not afford to make their living conditions safe or secure. Whether between state governments or federal governments, our response to the pandemic has been largely to focus on the picture of the upper middle class and the high class, and to deliberately overlook and ignore the way that the pandemic has been impacting the lower classes in our society.
The real irony is that as state governments complain about constrained budgets, and as the federal government continues to stall in coming to the aid of the lower classes, during the pandemic, the spending of our government on military and foreign affairs has not decreased one iota. Why do we spend billions of dollars developing weapon systems that are even more deadly, that guarantee US supremacy and hegemony around the world? Why do we continue to spend billions of dollars supporting dictators around the world? I wish we at least spent our foreign policy money justly, but we do not. We give billions of dollars to keep dictators in power all over the world. We spend billions of dollars to support systematic human rights abusers all over the world. But at home, we count our pennies when it comes to the aid of the unfortunate classes, unable to cope with the stark realities of the pandemic. In this, God is speaking to us. Read the Qur'an, God is saying, "Look, reflect, observe."
We give the state of Israel billions of dollars in multiple forms of aid, including military. Why? Because Israel serves the national security interests of the United States. We are deeply in bed with the Saudis, the Emiratis, the Egyptians, and the Jordanians. We give all of these, with the obvious exception of the Saudis and Emiratis, billions of dollars. Billions of dollars and all types of aid to support dictators. The irony here is, regardless of what we spew out about political realism, realpolitik, and pragmatism, the reason we give billions of dollars to Israel is purely ideological, religious, and yes, racial. We give billions of dollars to Israel because we do not trust Muslims. We give billions of dollars to Israel because we do not trust Arabs, Persians, or Turks. In our mind, the Israelis are closer to White, and closer to Christianity, than any of these people.
We do not give billions of dollars to Israel because of pragmatic politics and political interests. We give billions of dollars to Israel because our subconscious feelings - our sense of safety and security, our sense of dread and anxiety, and the feeling that as long as Israel is dominant and untouchable - are that Israel will neutralize and preempt any possible threat of Muslims coming together to constitute a coherent political power in the world. Of course, it does not stop there. With our ideological bias in favor of Israel at the expense of Palestinians - although former American president Jimmy Carter wrote a book exposing the realities of the apartheid system in existence in Israel - we, because of our ideological bias, are very efficient and adept at ignoring what a former US president, the one who is responsible for the Camp David peace accords, had to say about the realities in Israel.
Trump did a grossly unlawful illegal act. Israel illegally occupied Jerusalem, an act that has been condemned by the United Nations a million times. In response, Trump said, "I do not care," and moved the American embassy to Jerusalem, recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. After, President Biden came to power and did not reverse course. He did not undo the illegal act. In fact, Biden is continuing a policy that the Trump administration adopted. The Trump administration resorted to extremely costly political bribes to Muslim countries so that they would ignore justice for Palestinians and forget the Aqsa Mosque.
The Trump administration bribed Morocco, Oman and Bahrain in deals that cost Americans a lot of money, just so that they will forget about Jerusalem and the Palestinians and instead put their hands in the hands of the Israelis. Well, the Biden administration is now bribing the Indonesian government, offering the Indonesian government billions of dollars to join what is known as the Abraham Accords, which essentially has the mission: ‘forget Jerusalem, forget the Palestinians, and instead normalize relations with Israel.’ The cost is billions of dollars, as we continue to count pennies when it comes to helping the unfortunate in the current economy. While we continue to force people to go back to work, force people to face eviction, force people to face foreclosures, force people to risk the health and wellbeing of their family, and tell them, "We cannot afford to help you."
Apparently, for ideological reasons, we can afford to give billions of dollars to the Moroccans and to the Egyptians, as well as billions of dollars in concessions to the Saudis, the Bahrainis, the Emiratis, and the Omanis, just so that they would normalize relations with Israel; so that they would forget about Jerusalem and the Palestinians, and forget about justice and principles. There is money for that, and it is not animated by rational national security interests. It is animated by bigotry and racism. It is animated by a deeply embedded prejudice in the psyche of the American policymaker against an Islamic uprising, and Israel is the security against this Islamic uprising, whatever that means.
In this, God speaks to us. God speaks to us when we encounter the unexplainable, the illogical, and the irrational. There is a millionaire, a tech magnate, Neville Roy Singham, who has his own ideological history and beliefs, but for complicated reasons that we can look up, Singham gives millions of dollars to nonprofit organizations, and journalists have noticed a common thread. All the nonprofit organizations that receive Singham’s money are in the business of Uyghur genocide denial.
Millions of Uyghur Muslims have have been exterminated. That is a fact. There are concentration camps very much similar to the Holocaust. That is a fact. Yet these nonprofit organizations, all recipients of the money of this single millionaire, are now in the systematic business of denying the undeniable. Denying the genocide against the Uyghurs and saying, "China does not really do any of that. Why are we making such a big problem with China? Let us just do good business with China. China is our friend. In the same way that we bribe Muslims to forget Jerusalem and forget the Palestinians, let us bribe Muslims to forget about the Uyghur Muslims. Muslims themselves do not care about the Uyghur Muslims, so who cares?"
In this, God talks to us. A single non-Muslim millionaire who, according to this article in New Lines Magazine, is animated by a strange mixture of leftist ideas, Marxist ideas, and evangelical Christian ideas, and is willing to spend millions of dollars in genocide denial. Why does God speak to us? Is there no Muslim like Singham? Is there no Muslim millionaire out there who can give millions of dollars to nonprofit organizations that work on the Uyghur genocide, instead of deny the Uyghur genocide? For every non-Muslim millionaire who is willing to spend millions of dollars funding the Islamophobia industry, funding the targeting of Muslims and funding Israel, just so that we can forget about Jerusalem, the Palestinians, the Uyghurs, as well as forget about Muslim dignity, and honor, where are the Muslim millionaires? Where are the equivalents of this tech magnate? The Islamophobia industry raises $100 million every two years.
I know a few Muslim millionaires, and they choose to spend their money on everything but anything that is actually meaningful. What are we talking about in our khutbahs? What are we making a priority in our lives? As we learn the bitterness of fear and dread from the pandemic, do we think about the bitterness of fear and dread of the Uyghur Muslims living in the genocide? Do we draw parallels? Do we understand the commonalities? Do we understand the lessons of God? Do we listen to the voice of God? Because in all of this, God is talking to us.
France has passed new laws targeting Muslims, including banning the hijab. I am sure there are Muslims who are saying, "Why are we making a big deal about Jerusalem? Why are we making a big deal about Palestine?" These Muslims who have checked their dignity out the door, are they telling you to make a big deal about anything at all? Do they stand up for one issue but not other issues, or are they simply sellouts? People without dignity, without honor, without cause?
The supporters of Israel are willing to spend billions of dollars. Those who hate Islam are willing to spend billions of dollars. A tech magnate is willing to spend millions of dollars to deny the Uyghur holocaust. Meanwhile, there are those who tell you, "Just get married and raise your children," what are they willing to spend? What are their priorities? The Hadith in Bukhari? The hijab? In this, God is talking to us. Do we listen? Do we reflect? Do we ponder?
In this pandemic, where we have no idea how many Afghans are dying because of COVID. Hundreds, thousands, no one knows. Worse, no one cares. The entire population of Afghanistan, right now, is confronting starvation. The entire population of Afghanistan is at risk of starving to death. Why? Not because of the Taliban. Listen to this and understand it. When we occupied Afghanistan and supported a very corrupt government for all these years, part of what we did in Afghanistan was control the deposits of the central banking system in Afghanistan.
We, as an occupying power, have invaded and occupied Afghanistan unlawfully. We have killed and murdered untold numbers, leave alone how many we have imprisoned, maimed, wounded and injured. But we also control the deposits in the central banking system of Afghanistan. At the time that the Taliban entered Kabul, the central bank of Afghanistan owned about nine billion dollars. But because we are the occupying power, it is not the Afghan central bank that controlled the $9 billion, instead it was the US that did.
Upon the Taliban entering Afghanistan, we froze the assets of the central bank of Afghanistan and refused to release any of the $9 billion. As a result, the Afghan economy collapsed. People could not withdraw money from the banks. Afghanistan no longer had hard currency. Still, the Biden administration continues to hold on to the assets of Afghanistan, including the money that belongs to Afghanistan, and we say we are not going to release it unless Taliban fulfills what can only be described as imperialistic conditions. Our excuse is we are liberating the women of Afghanistan. We want the Afghan government to meet several guarantees and because of this, we hold onto their money, and refuse to release it. Because we refuse to release it, the entire population of Afghanistan meets starvation and collapse.
Could we possibly do this to any population other than Muslims? We are putting the lives of 20 million Muslims in grave danger. Every UN body has pleaded with the United States to release Afghan money, yet the Biden administration remains in gridlock here. Back in the US, as the Islamophobes continue blabbing on about the dangers of releasing money to the Taliban, a country that we unlawfully invaded and occupied without just cause. We claimed we were fighting terrorism, but we were fighting Afghan people for 20 years, refusing to be held accountable for who we killed in Afghanistan, along with who we maimed or injured.
If you are in Afghanistan, threatened by the pandemic but too poor to do anything about it, and you know your economy has collapsed and your family is starving, and you are too poor to do anything about it, I am sure it would cross your mind, "Maybe Muslims in the United States will exert political power to come to our aid. Maybe Muslims in the United States could not do anything about Jerusalem or Palestine. Maybe Muslims in the United States could not do anything about the Uyghur holocaust. Maybe, but surely, this is Afghanistan, and it is their government that is causing this famine. I am sure Muslims in the United States will do something about this and come to our aid."
They have no idea about the true nature of Muslims in the United States. Muslims in the United States love building mosques. Muslims in the United States love to have meaningless, endless, tiresome debates about Bukhari and Muslim. Muslims in the United States love to go on and on about hijab, veiling, and other nonsense. Muslims in the United States love to label people as liberal, progressive, doctrinal or non-doctrinal. Muslims in the United States have everything in their empty heads but what matters.
In this, God is talking to us. Will we listen? Will we reflect? Will we ponder? Will we comprehend? Muslims in the United States listen to Hamza Yusuf and the Islamic Center of Southern California, who tell them, "Forget about standing up for anything. Forget about standing up against tyrants. Forget about standing up against dictatorships. Forget about standing up against human rights violators. Forget about standing up for Jerusalem. Forget about standing up against Israel. Forget about doing anything that means anything."
In this, God is talking to us. When God allows for a voice to come around that throws our contradictions right in our faces, to shame us, to embarrass us, to get us to reflect and ponder, God is talking to us.
Yes, this is the reality. The reality is that all these people who died in a fire in New York did not have to live in the conditions they lived in. All these children that died in this fire did not have to die. All these people who lost their businesses and had their homes foreclosed on, did not have to go through this. Our government has lost its sense of priorities a long time ago. Our government will spend billions upon billions of dollars on the military, will give billions of dollars to dictators and human rights abusers, will give billions of dollars for an archaic and antiquated ideological battle. Billions of dollars on the war against Islam, on supporting Israel, on denying the rights of Palestinians, and on stealing Jerusalem. Billions of dollars. As I said, billions of dollars to Indonesia, just so Indonesia can normalize relations with Israel.
All of this comes out of the pockets of the American taxpayer. All of this is done, and the media is happy to ignore it. This is billions of dollars that could go to help the needy and those who truly need it in the pandemic, to take care of their families and keep them safe. But meanwhile, millionaires spend millions upon millions of dollars to wage a crusade against Islam. Millions of dollars to deny the holocaust against the Uyghurs in China. While Muslim millionaires are resting their fat behinds on their wealth and their money. Of course, they want to pretend that what God is telling us, in the midst of all of this, is, "Muslims, I care about the hijab the most. It is the most important thing in the world. That is my issue. Not all this injustice, not all this misery, not all the contradictions, not Al-Aqsa, not Jerusalem, not the Palestinians, not the Uyghurs, not the Rohingyas, not any of that."
So then these rich Muslims, as long as they build a mosque with a Sunday school or an elementary school that tells girls to properly cover their hair, heads and necks, and to show nothing of their legs and arms, God is happy. I am here to tell you that God is not happy. I am here to tell you that God looks upon us and says, "What is wrong with you? How could it possibly be that you messed up my religion so badly?" I am here to tell you that God speaks to us, but you are deaf so you hear nothing, and you learn nothing, because the people who you choose to listen to do not speak for God.
There is a respectable organization known as Genocide Watch. Gregory Stanton, who is the president of this organization, accurately predicted the Rwandan genocide before it took place. Stanton, analyzing the data of social media, warned the world that a genocide was about to take place in Rwanda, before it ever happened. The same organization, Genocide Watch, and Gregory Stanton, analyzing social media data, warned about the Rohingya genocide before it took place. Stanton is now warning of a genocide against Muslims that is about to explode in India. Not just Stanton, but the US Holocaust Museum also warns that they believe a genocide against Muslims is about to explode in India.
It does not even take someone like Gregory Stanton to see that. Indian social media, including official media, is full of incitement against Muslims. Attacks against Muslims are a daily occurrence in India. What the Indian forces continue to do in Kashmir is criminal. In conspiracy theories about love jihad is exactly the same Islamophobic garbage that we have heard before the Bosnian, Rohingyan and Uyghur genocides. The same Islamophobic garbage that is doled out by Robert Spencer, Daniel Pipes and company, is steadily, consistently, deafeningly, heard out of India.
Violent assaults are abundant against Muslims in India. Let us also remember, the person who sparked all of this is India's President Modi, a Hindu fanatic nationalist. No one talks about Hindu terrorism. Of course, we do not traumatize Hindu children by forcing them to grow up on the defensive about their religion and about their culture. We do it only to Muslims. A genocide against Muslims is about to break out in India.
We have sold out Palestine. We have sold out the Al Aqsa mosque. We have sold out Jerusalem. We have sold out the Rohingyas. We have sold out the Uyghurs. We have sold out the Bosnians. How many Muslims still talk about the rape camps that existed in Bosnia, or the non-state that Bosnia exists in today? By the way, the United States is concerned about the reoccurring of a genocide in Bosnia, because the Serbs are extremely powerful and armed, while the Bosnians are not. And what do we do? We continue listening to the likes of Hamza Yusuf, who tell us to go around smelling the roses. "Get married, raise your children. Muslims are not persecuted. There are no problems. Support Trump if you want. All is fine. Do not worry about Jerusalem. Do not worry about Palestine."
Let us not forget that Modi, the person responsible for all the violence against Muslims in India, the person directly responsible for the genocide that is about to break out against Muslims in India, was honored by the Emirati government with their highest medal. This is the same Emirati government that has funded Islamophobic organizations, that has sold out the Palestinians, that sold out Jerusalem, and embraced the Israelis. This is the same Emirati government that supports Bin Bayyah and Hamza Yusuf.
What is going to happen when the genocide breaks out in India and Muslim women are being raped and murdered, and Muslims' homes are being burned, and yet another Muslim population suffers? What are we going to do? We are going to build Islamic centers, fight about how women are partitioned off in our centers, make sure that women cannot see speakers on Sunday events, make sure that we underscore the doctrinal position on hijab, and the awrah of women and Muslim voices. That is what we are going to be doing.
Regarding the Indian genocide, we will say, "Oh, so unfortunate. Another genocide against Muslims?" In this, God is speaking to us, to those who have reason and have a brain, and to those who listen. God speaks to us through ourselves. When we reflect upon ourselves and we see our contradictions, our inconsistencies and our ugliness, we recall that God's message was a message of liberation, dignity, honor and reason, and we then say, "I get it. God, you are angry at us. Angry because we made you angry. I must immediately change the way I think, I must change my priorities and values."
The Islamophobia industry that spends $200 million every couple years, the holocaust against Uyghurs in China, the apartheid system against Palestinians in Palestine, the loss of the Aqsa Mosque and Jerusalem, the genocide in Bosnia, and the genocide in Burma, two genocides that were preventable, if Muslims would have acted. The injustices within our own homeland. So many of our children cannot cope. You demand that they grow up like you, an Arab, an Indo-Pak, a Somali, a Mauritanian, a Bangladeshi, but the Islam they hear from you does not make sense to them, it does not fill them with a sense of pride and dignity. The Islam they learn from you, what you tell them God is saying, the way God is speaking, does not give them that sense of selfhood. So their sense of selfhood is compromised, defeated, and broken.
They want to be accepted by their peers. They want their society to respect who they are, but they are confronted with a society that does not respect them or validate them, and they are confronted by parents who are oblivious to their plight, as they are oblivious to the plight of Muslims everywhere. They are oblivious to their own inner plight, because their parents have learned to lie to themselves, and to live a schizophrenic existence. So those children, a very high percentage of them, grow up either denying that they are Muslim, "My parents are Muslim, so I am of Muslim origins," or they resort alcohol, drugs, suicide, or all of the above. They live on the margins of the margins because, like every ugly reality in our lives, as Muslims, we do not talk about them. We do not include them. We do not reach out to them and so they suffer.
We are going to be held responsible for the conspiracy of silence that surrounds their suffering. We are going to be held responsible for their marginalization and the otherness that they experience. In this reality, God also talks to us. Yes, I hear God saying, "Look at the people on the margins. Look at those who have been othered. Look at those who have been marginalized. What do you stand for as a Muslim? Who is your Muslim brother? Who is your Muslim sister? Do you live a purposeful, ethical, moral, meaningful life, or do you exist in inconsistencies and in incomprehensibilities?" That is how God speaks to me, and I firmly believe that that is how God speaks to you. If only we would listen.