Sunday, April 03, 2005

The Undoing of PMUNA Board Member Muqtedar Khan

So, the Amina Wadud controversy has abated. I am sure that some blogs and forums are still fuming over the widely covered media event but just like all facets of pop culture, it is easily consumed, digested and then quickly discarded. But some of us are still feeling the sting of insults from the Progressive Muslim Union and its attempts to brand any dissent as retrogressive and backward. Despite the claims of tolerance and free expression of opinion, people who have written for them or posted comments that did not fall in line with their agenda were attacked or had their words deleted. This is not merely for those who leave comments but for those on their board who either disagree on a certain idea or have no opinion to offer on the matter. Welcome to the stage Muqtedar Khan, author on many books about Islam such as American Muslims: Bringing Faith anfd Freedom and webmaster of, a website calling for freedom of thought and independent thinking.

You see, Muqtedar Khan had the gall to not comment on the Amina Wadud imamate. He did not approve of it or condemn it. Rather, he decided not to give an opinion because his focus is on public policy and politics, not matters of worship. Brothers and sisters, this is mutiny. You can not be on the PMU Board and disgree with its aims or even question the aims. But not doubt, Captain Jawad Ali, writer and past editor of, wrote a stunning piece in which branded Mr. Khan as a chicken. He literally wrote the words “pwak, pwak, pwak” as he derided him for staying out of the fray.

I know our ulema do not always agree with each other. Many scholars find Yusuf al-Qaradawi to be incorrect on certain issues. But that is what is great about Islam. You can disagree on certain issues as long as they don’t against the Qur’an and Sunnah. That is why there are many schools of thought and different philosophical reasonings throughout Islamic history. But if you plan on being a leader in the Muslim community, you can’t go around stink palming people you disagree with or calling them chicken. Some people may think it’s cute or even funny but few will take you seriously. And if people are willing to tease someone who is supposedly “on their side,” what kind of venom do they have stored up for the people who are considered idelogical enemies. You know some of things written about Imam Siraj Wahhaj, Imam Zaid Shakir and Shaykh Hamza Yusuf on their website. The mark of a Muslim is that other Muslims are safe from his/her tongue. You can speak your mind in their presence and you don’t have to worry about gheeba.

It makes me wonder if such a movement can survive if it tries it’s hardest to alienate and dismiss those who have a different approach. I am not saying that I agree with Muqtedar Khan’s works or ideas. I’m not saying that I disagree (and hopefully that’s allowed). But when it comes to the people who I take my knowledge from, I want there to be a little less sarcasm and more humility. I don’t want to be a part of a group whose leaders are more nafsy than myself. May Allah subhana wa ta’ala guide all the people of the PMUNA to good conduct, right behavior and the avoidance of slander.


Blogger blagdiblah said...

You won't say that you agree or disagree with Muqtader. NO, that is not allowed. You are a CHICKEN!! bawk bawk bawk. Hmmm, since according to PMUNA anyone even an atheist or agnostic is still a Muslim, I wonder if calling someone a chicken or a coward is proggie takfiring.

11:07 PM  
Blogger izzymo said...

Ha ha ha! Proggy takfiring. That's very accurate. Yes, they do have their own method of declaring "progressive apostasy" on some people.

12:32 AM  
Blogger DrMaxtor said...

Asalamu Aliakum,
I find this all very amusing and pathetic. It should be noted that Khan was belittling Khalid Abu Fadl in that same piece. These people are so petty and childish, is it any wonder that they are so out of touch with Islam ?

9:28 PM  
Blogger ابدلرحیم said...

Maybe they'll destroy themselves. Haha "nafsy". WO woo i can't wait, two weeks and i'm going to see Sheikh Hamza Yusuf at a lecture, i'm so excited

9:43 PM  
Blogger Ann said...

Assalaamu alaikum,

The Amina Wadud thing may have slipped out of the news for now, but at my Quran class on Friday, the women (from various countries) asked me about it for the first time. The news is still getting around the world, I think. And no one heard anything from prominent American Muslims saying that they didn't approve of it, so many Muslims around the world will associate "American Islam" and American Muslims with that stunt, unfortunately.

6:02 AM  
Blogger izzymo said...

Salaam alaikum Sister Ann,

That's actually what I was afraid off. Because American Muslims do not have a large media netowrk like the Progressives, people are automatically assuming that all of us approve of it. That's why I say we have to promote our own media through newspapers, websites and blog. Maybe they will learn about what really happened from us on this LT blog, insha'Allah.

12:00 PM  
Blogger Safiyyah said...

I get the impression people do realize that a Muslim woman leading prayer is controversial, particularly because it has taken a long time for Christians to take that step, and Jews are in fact dealing with very similar issues to Muslims. Our job now is to explain why we stand for what we do, ie. what is the reasoning behind it.

6:17 AM  
Blogger dawud al-gharib said...

hrm - just as a brief response: Muslim women scholars have been numerous (Dr.,Umar Faruq AbduLlah just released a book set/CD on 'Early Muslim women scholars' (Nawawi foundation) and I know that both Sister Aisha Bewley and Dr. Ingrid Matson have taken up the discussion/wrote books on scholars from our beloved Umm-ul-Mu'mineen Aisha (rAa) to Rab'ia-ul-Basra (rAa) - as Imam Hamza has pointed out, that dropped off after the 12th century, and he speculates as to the middle east jahilliyah attitudes to women returning due to the influence of Byzantine culture... interesting thought.

On Christians and Jews, as a side comment - the origins of both have positive points as well: early Christian communities had women 'deacons' and readers, and Miriam's (Allah be pleased with her) presence in Jewish traditions of our Prophet Musa (alayhi salaam)
are well-noted... but both Christianity (Byzantine culture in particular, as noted above) and Orthodox Judaism (where a prayer 'thank you God for not making me a woman' (paraphrased) is recited in the morning - have equally problematic interpretations as the negative readings given here in Saudi (one ridiculous comment/fatwa last year told an old woman who wanted to visit the graveyards 'young women will start to go with you, then young men will think that graveyards are a place to meet young women...' [saudi youth are capable of more clever ways of meeting each other, homosexual or heterosexual, even in hyper-restrictive Riyadh...]

may Allah guide all of us, and revive our Traditions before we end up as a hadith warns us, one who merely tells people to go behind a bush when fornicating will be ranked amongst his people as the sahaba ranked Abu Bakr or Omar (radhi Allahu anh)

3:27 PM  
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2:31 PM  

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