Muslim Youth in Western Lands-Notes

As requested and as promised 🙂


Lea Bridge Road masjid has a gym/hall next door and talks/events are normally held in that hall so I and a friend went and sat there to find the room filling up with brothers and sisters with two brothers (none of whom were Imam Zaid) sitting on the stage talking about British Police and their brutality. “Erm..where’s Imam Zaid? This isn’t meant to be the topic”. I notice a leaflet on the chair next to me, advertising some other talks with a diagram of the words “Democracy”, Kufr” and “Shirk” linked together in a circle. “Hm, this isn’t the right talk”. So I left and made my way back to the masjid prayer area. As we left, a brother asked us to get his wife from the hall because this want the talk they had come for either! lol, I found the situation kinda amusing. So because of this little mix up, I ended up missing a the beginning of Imam Zaid’s talk but Alhumdulillah, I caught the rest and here are the notes I made (apologies for the length, everything was noteworthy 🙂 ):


(Imam Zaid was talking about principles)

If you stand up, Allah will strengthen you. What do you stand for? If you don’t have anything to stand for, you got nothing to live for. Martin Luther King said “a people who have nothing worth dying for, have nothing worth living for”. Faith gives us something to live for. Imam Zaid mentioned Stephen L Carter’s book “American Culture of Disbelief” (which he has in his hotel room) in which the author said, writing in the early/mid 1990’s ” If in America I was denied the right to teach my children Christianity, I would pack up and leave because my religion is superior to my political affiliation”– he’s expressing a certain principle; “I should have the right to teach my children as I see fit without compromising other people’s right to teach their children as they see fit”.

Imam Zaid then mentioned the Sahih hadith in which a man asked the Prophet (sallalahu alayhi wasallam) what he should do if someone came to take away his property and fought him over it. The Prophet (sallalahu alayhi wasallam) replied that he should not hand it over and should fight him and if he dies while doing so, he will be a martyr. So, we have a principle of defending our property and loved ones- this is worth dying for. If your wife’s hijab is snatched off on the street are you just going to stand there?

We have to have principles. The principles of the youth need focusing because they will go whichever way the wind will blow. One day it’ll be gelled hair, the next it’ll be spiked up, the next day it’ll be combed down etc. We need firm principles- how did the Prophet(sallalahu alayhi wasallam) comb his hair? That’s how I’ll comb my hair, we should follow him (Saw). Imam Zaid commented on the “fashion” of buying ripped up jeans when you could just wear your jeans out and get the ripped look naturally, but people would rather spend money buying them. We are being lead and we don’t know who’s leading us. We don’t know what their values and morals are. We follow the Prophet(sallalahu alayhi wasallam); we know what his moral standards are and no one is going to make money out of following the Sunnah!

The youth have to be very principled and these principles need to be contextualised within the sound understanding (of Islam) because sound principles can be exploited just as lack of principles can. We need to avoid utopian thininking; the idea that we can build a perfect society on this earth. The Prophet (sallalahu alayhi wasallam)‘s society wasn’t perfect. If his (saw)’s society was perfect, why did we have the hudoods? Some people still drank and fornicated in Medina after the laws were revealed and they were punished. It was a good/wholesome society but it wasn’t perfect. Did they win every battle?No, they had victories and setbacks, they had Badr and Uhud. Did the people of Ta’if surrender? In the aftermath of Uhud, Allah told the believers “do not be weakened or saddened..” [by worldly things]-Allah is telling us that victory and defeat aren’t what define success. Success is defined by your faith.

It’s easy to believe, be happy and have strong Iman when you’re on top and winning, but when it’s not like that, how’s the faith going to be? How can we be purified without any tests? Life will have tests; as nations and as individuals. Life is a struggle and whats important is the ability to keep struggling. Struggle has different levels and its important to know what level your struggle is at. For some it’s physical; they struggle to defend their land and homes. Look at your context and define your struggle. Use wisdom- doing that which is most appropriate, in the time that is most appropriate and in the manner that is most appropriate.

So what’s the right thing for us to do in this time? Adam Smith, a British scholar/economist founded the principle of “comparative advantage”-what does this nation have that can benefit others. What is our comparative advantage as Muslims in the west? What can we do better than Muslims anywhere in the world based on our resources?

1) Dawah- we are surrounded by non Muslims; we have a great opportunity here to offer something to the non Muslims. Some people are insecure about what we have to offer. We have alot to offer-people are in spiritual crisis. Why are people experimenting with all sorts of drugs knowing that it could kill them? Because of a spiritual emptiness.Allah has blessed us with salat and dhikr. Why aren’t we giving it to other people.

Talking on the brotherhood that exists in our community, Imam Zaid said we need to build on that and accept everyone equally on the basis of La ilaha illallah. Brotherhood and humanity should be the basis for dawah. Physical and economical difference are what people are commonly discriminated against, but an arab is not superior to a non arab nor is a white superior to a black person- If it doesn’t matter to Allah, it shouldn’t matter to you. Imam Zaid then talked about the rise of Facsism and nationalism in the West and what these wars of ideologies have resulted in (hundreds and millions of deaths).

2) Education- this should be on the top of the agenda. We in the West have the opportunity to gain levels of education with ease compared to others in muslim counties. In the average muslim country if you fail in secondary school, you leave and go and work in the market, or become an apprentice in the mechanics (i.e not alot you can do), whereas here, anyone can go to university.

Some people think we should be fighting the non Muslims here- this isnt our comparative advantage. What would make someone leave the comparative advantage we have here and go and do something that could could cause great harm? We need to look at the consequences of our actions. For example, when the Prophet (sallalahu alayhi wasallam) was walking with his wife Summaya and the companions saw, he (saw) announced that she was his wife because he (saw) knew what the consequences of not explaining who she was could be. Imam Zaid then spoke about the recent tragedy in Virgina. We were holding our breaths when we heard that the shooter was Asian and were praying that it not be a Muslim. Imagine if the kid was a Muslim? what would be the consequences? I can tell you for sure, that mosques would be burnt down and people would call for the expulsion of muslims from America- the consequences of actions.

There are a million people in the Muslim world that fight jihad; if you want to go, then at least go with some skill. Doctors, nurses, technicians are needed in the Muslim world-learn a skill then go. Allah gave you the opportunity to do something and benefit others and you go as a semi-skilled person? This could be sinful, especially if a skill is needed (fard Kifaya); skills could be needed even to benefit the local community. We have a drugs problem in East London-how many Muslim drug Counsellors do we have? Girls and boys are getting involved in gang activity, Muslims are in prison, what are we doing to help?

3) Environmental Consciousness- We share this planet. There are numerous ahadiths related to the kind treatment of other creatures. For example, an army approached a dog nurturing its pup and they diverted their path so they wouldn’t unsettle them. The woman who was threatened with Hellfire because she mistreated her cat who died as a result. Hunting for sport is not allowed because the life of that animal has sanctity.

4) Ethics- Goes back to principles- We need sound ethics that will benefit others-the best of people are those who are of benefit to others”, provide service to others. As young people we need to plan to grow up and benefit others. Become a doctor if you want-spend 6 months in Britain then go spend 6 months in Afghanistan, 6 months in Britain then 6 months in Bangladesh, Sierra Leon etc. Make a plan to benefit others.

In America medication is expensive and its estimated that around 60 million people don’t have health insurance so they have to do without medication when ill. Muslim doctors have come together and are setting up clinics where they provide health services for free- an example of benefiting others. Strive to serve and build up because we have enough people tearing down.

There was then a q/a session and the majority of questions were related to giving dawah to the youth and getting them interested in the deen and away from drugs. Teenagers aren’t willingly going to come to the masjid. So instead of telling them to come to you, you gotta go to where they are.

If they hang out in the park playing football, go and join them and at half time have a chat with them.

Their Islamic identity is lost because of insecurity. Provide karate classes for example, boost up their confidence while making it a rule that they have to memorise x amount of ayahs before they get their belt.

Provide alternative venues (with adult supervision) for them to enjoy themselves off the streets.

Join local law enforcement groups and intervene in the drug dealing-tell the dealers that this is a Muslims community and that they can take their drugs elsewhere.

Someone asked about Hijra. Hijra is part of our religion. If someone feels that they can’t maintain their deen or character or protect their families they can leave because the deen comes first-there are still some places in the world where there is sanity, stability and piety- but we should not think that we are at war here in the West.

Imam Zaid ended by asking Allah to bless those who attended, to bless and preserve the masjid, to bless this community and bless and grant us wisdom to make solid plans for our lives. We need to plan now and build ourselves up, the strong believer is more beloved to Allah than the weak believer. So work on your physical, intellectual and spiritual state and work to give benefit to others, to society and to be a good human being because we have alot of problems in our communities; divorce, drugs and alot of the time those problems come back to a lack of decency-how could a decent person do that? Start being decent human beings, thats what our Prophet encouraged us to be.

Imam Zaid left us with his final nasiha: Be mindful of Allah wherever you are and follow up any bad deed with a good deed. No one’s perfect. If you stole something from a store, go back to that same spot and make some dhikr, so when that spot gives witness against you on the Day Judgment it will also witness the good. And deal with people with good character-if we can do that, we will have a good life and Allah will bless our affairs Inshallah.


I could not leave without speaking to Imam Zaid and telling him how grateful I/we were for him coming down so I waited for him outside with my friend. I saw the brother who had asked us to find his wife earlier and asked him whether Imam Zaid was praying or had left. Imam Zaid was still inside talking to brothers so we continued to wait. Then Alhumdulillah, Imam Zaid came out, tall and smiling, surrounded by brothers who were talking to him and shaking hands, yet I was still determined to speak to him. Imam Zaid seemed to be making his way over to us (thanks to the brother I spoke to earlier) but I don’t think the brothers realized as they continued to surround him, until Imam Zaid approached us and said “na’am sisters” and the brothers took a step back (brap brap).

I thanked him for coming down to our area because we *really* need people like him; our youngsters are getting pulled into murky waters and not just in terms of the worldly attractions and it’s really worrying. Imam Zaid said he was happy to have come and asked if I lived locally. Subhanallah, Imam Zaid is just soo lovely. I asked him to visit us more and he replied that the next time he was in London he will make sure he comes to East London. I asked if that was a promise and he replied “I promise and you can hold me accountable to that“, (!!!) and added that if I saw him London and he had not visited East London, I could throw sticks at him. SUBHANALLAH! I thanked him once again, he put his hand on his chest, nod his head and said salam. Imam Zaid is just soo charming and such a gentleman and so how our leaders should be; willing to make some time to speak to nobodies like me.

May Allah continue to bless and preserve Imam Zaid and allow him to visit us more so that I will not have to hold him accountable!

(manky) Leyton was blessed yesterday.

God Bless and Dua’s

Usma 😀


~ by usma on 23, April, 2007.

17 Responses to “Muslim Youth in Western Lands-Notes”

  1. wow… masha’Allah.. jazak’Allah khair for sharing this blessed naseeha/advice with us ukhtee

  2. Thank you 🙂

    x x x x x x x

    May Allah Almighty reward you well!

  3. Sallams, thanks and Jazak Allah Khair for these wonderful notes. May Allah reward you!, Ameen. Wassallams, 🙂

  4. im pleased that you got to speak to him and what lovely encouraging words!!

  5. Jazaka-Allah for sharing it.

  6. Salam

    Jazakallah khayr for the great notes!
    May Allah reward you for your efforts!!


  7. Salamualaykum!

    Barakallah feek all.Alhumdulillah, that I was able to attend.

    God Bless

  8. Usma! Mate, Thanks for sharing – Imam Zaid is truly amongst the awliya and may Allah Almighty continue to increase his rank and also His favour upon him.

    May abundant reward today and tomorrow be yours, Usma – JazakAllahukhairun.

    Asma G 🙂

  9. salamu `alaykum

    Great stuff. What a beautiful man. Shaykh Nuh once said about Imam Zaid, “The man has no nafs!” – Barakallah feek for this entry. May Allah allow us to walk in the footsteps of His friends.


  10. JazakAllah sister! May Allah SWT reward you for sharing these gems with us. It really is much appreciated.

    May Allah SWT increase Imam Zaid & all our other noble Shuyukh. They’re soo inspiring MaashAllah.


  11. Bismillah
    Salaam Dear Usma,

    InshAllah your well by His Swt grace and mercy upon you

    Just wanted to seek permission from you to post your notes on another website. My email is attached below (privately) and inshAllah you are able to see it and let me know..

    May Allah bless all our Shuyukh and all those wonderful people who help bring forth the teachings of these Heirs. Allahumma Ameen

  12. Walaykumusalam,

    No problem Inshallah.

  13. Salams,
    this is a great blog sis, so glad i found it! Really useful notes aswell.

  14. Masha’Allah you’re such a good note-taker.

  15. I smoked a lot of crack, maybe Allah just didn’t save me yet? Or Jebus or Ganesh, please think for me O fancifull beings! LOL!

  16. Do I get a fatwa on me for my “disrespect of Islam”? I’ll be annoyed
    if you Muslims don’t give me one, the Daily Mail basically confirmed I’d have a death sentence for my previous post. Allah hu FUBAR! Jebus & Ganesh drink booze mightily!

  17. […] stations during Ramadhan. London has also been so blessed to have Shuyukh such as Shaykh Hamza and Imam Zaid visit from the U.S visit on a number of occasions, and of course we have our very own Shaykh Abdal […]

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