There are many organizations, schools, institutes, and places of learning that are teaching and spreading the knowledge of Islam. AlMaghrib Institute is probably one of the most popular ones in America and probably with Canada and UK included as well. This past weekend I attended a special gathering called Ilmfest, which is AlMaghrib’s annual convention in America. This year it was held in Baltimore, Maryland. The word of mouth and hype of the event reached as far as getting a front page story on the Baltimore Sun. They even covered the session called “Reclaiming Islam from the Jihadists” by Shaykh Waleed Basyouni here.
There were around total 800+ attendees and some estimates put it closer to 1,000 making it the largest Ilmfest yet. Most of the audience were from the student groups (student tribes – Qaba’il [singular: Qabeelat]) from New York (Tayybah), New Jersey (Durbah) and the host Maryland-DC-Virginia (Nurayn). There were also people from all the way the West Coast to down south Texas to all the way up north to Seattle, Washington. I also met a brother from the UK. A lot of credit and respect is due to the core set of volunteers (which was very small for such a large event) from Nurayn.
Going back to the title of the post I must say that with all the hate, labeling, negative opinions, etc. on AlMaghrib Institute over the past years (which I myself have engaged in, may Allah forgive me), they have really stood ground, ignored the haters and continued to grow leaving behind the rest of the organizations. They have set the standard year after year and continue to increase it with new ideas and projects. I think Allah took all the barakah from the haters and gave it to AlMaghrib. From almost every perspective, AlMaghrib has excelled, although there is always area for improvement, but overall it is the only organization which I find myself recommending to young Muslims who are trying to get back into or start practicing Islam. Of course I recommend other outlets, but by far the most popular one is AlMaghrib.
Ilm to Action
So how is AlMaghrib putting knowledge into action? They don’t stop after they leave the seminar. Seriously they don’t stop. Over the past few years where ever there is an AlMaghrib Qabeelah (tribe, literally – student group in AlMaghrib) there were consistently doing and planning something in between each seminar. Some of them are planning/doing something once a month (the larger ones in large Muslim populated areas). What do they do? Anything to please Allah. Social work, relief work, dawah, teaching, etc. are some of the areas they try to implement within their local community in order for it to grow.
As an organization, even AlMaghrib has done a lot outside of it’s main focus. They had an online fundraiser for Gaza raising hundreds of thousands of dollars in hours. They joined up with other organizations to help Imam Siraj Wahhaj and also to fight Malaria. They also answered the call from MuslimServe.org which was trying to get Muslims to answer the call from President Obama to become active in doing social work and projects in their local communities. I wouldn’t be surprised if many of the projects that are listed there were done by AlMaghrib students.
It doesn’t even have to be large it could be making a short film or having a picnic for Eid to feeding homeless people or organizing halaqaat to teach those who haven’t attended a seminar what they learned. It’s literally anything that improves their local community and brings them closer to Islam and worshiping Allah. One thing I’ve noticed that AlMaghrib Institute doesn’t really highlight or list all the work each Qabeelah has done over the past several years of it’s existence. If they were I’m sure it would be a lengthy list of many social, dawah and community projects. I think this is an extraodniray feat since it’s further proof of their intentions. They aren’t doing it to show Muslims that AlMaghrib is doing all this good or to show non-Muslims that Muslims are good. They are doing it simply for the pleasure of Allah (swt) and solely because it is their duty as a Muslim and a firm believer.
Army of Volunteers and Leadership
AlMaghrib is an instant pool of volunteers that can get things done. Wherever there is a qabeelah there is a group of brothers and sisters ready to work for Islam. There are over 15+ cities with active qabeelahs with hundreds of volunteers. On top of this, there is leadership. Each qabeelah has their own Ameer (Leader Male – like my first name) and Ameerah (Leader – female). They report to the AlMaghrib headquarters to get their guidelines and how to run their student group. From what I noticed, it is fairly simple for each Qabeelah to run independently. The obvious and clear guideline is the Islam with the Qur’an and Sunnah. What AlMaghrib headquarters offers is the basic administration advice and help. Other then that the leaders of each qabeelah function by themselves doing whatever work that needs to be done for their local community.
The AlMaghrib shuyukh specifically, Shaykh Muhammad AlShareef, Shaykh Waleed Basyouni and Shaykh Yasir Qadhi are the leaders. The basically run the show and give the final say. This is probably one of the most unique factor and major difference between AlMaghrib and other organizations. Without naming any names, most other organizations have a set group of non-scholars running the show and simply tell the scholar what to do. With AlMaghrib the scholars are actually the ones in control. I believe this is one of the reasons why they are so successful. With an ummah that lacks leadership from the local masjid to an entire Muslim country, AlMaghrib doesn’t lack this. As much as many may differ with their leadership you have to respect the fact they have leaders.
Forget about the bad apples and focus on the action
The theme of this year’s Ilmfest was Generation Islam with each speaker covering various subjects. The main point that was repeated in every lecture I listened to was simply apply our knowledge with action to our communities. From helping the youth to respecting our elders to fighting terrorism to doing social work and more. Now with all groups and organizations there will be a few haters and bad apples. Recently there was some haters complaining of Sh. Waleed’s lecture “Reclaiming Islam from the Jihadists”. I thought this lecture was extremely important and should be played in front of the entire Muslim community in America.
These haters complained how Sh. Waleed was attacking the “mujahideen” (as they call them). What mujahideen are they talking about? The mujahideen of Omar al Mukhtar defended Muslims not kill them. The mujahideen of Salah ad-Deen defended Muslims not kill them. These so-called “mujahideen” kill any human that doesn’t agree with them. The proof is clear and anyone can see who is real and who is fake. I’d rather call them a bunch of Muslim thugs with guns, big beards and turbans. They have the heart to kill Muslim women without any hesitation then they are not worthy of the title of ‘mujahideen’. They buy their kafir-made weapons from kafir drug dealers and kafir human traffickers to kill Muslims. Wow, amazing “jihad”!? Now don’t get me wrong there are true soldiers who are fighting to protect their people and defend their home, but there are those who are just out there for blood from anything.
What’s even more interesting is that if they were alive during the Khilafat of the 1800s or 1700s or 1600s or even back to the 1000s or 1100s they’d be fighting the Caliph since he would be a “deviant” or in other words not following “their way”. How much more Muslim blood do they have to spill before they stop? Instead of trying to rebuild their countries and stop the violence, they want to continue until everyone who’s not with them is dead. It’s like their the crips and everyone else is a blood or vice versa (same difference). In fact they are like the khawarij.
Back to the lecture that Sh. Waleed gave at Ilmfest. He totally owned them and refuted them. Especially the young ones who are in America who support these extremists. One point he made that has stuck in my head was the fact that most of these brothers (mostly brothers, very few sisters) who support this terrorism are inactive in their communities. They don’t give back to their communities but instead sit online discussing on forums. They don’t do anything with their lives. You don’t see them organizing relief efforts or helping raise money for those in need. All this is so true, because I know a few examples of this. Many of them blog online in America and post online forums sitting in their suburban home while the government watches them. Ever wonder why innocent people like Aafia Siddiqui or Fahad Hashmi or Sh. Ali Tamimi or Ahmed Abu Ali or Sami Arian end up in jail while these fools are still sitting in front of their computers blatantly and publicly supporting terrorism? I would not be surprised if they were actually working for the government just to trap more innocent brothers and sisters.
The reality the ones who support this type of terrorism in the name of Jihad are bums. Straight up online internet bums. These are the haters that hate on AlMaghrib and all other organizations who are actually doing something. They are the ones who would blog “media releases” from various media wings from international Muslim gangs. I applaud Sh. Waleed for calling these fools out and refuting their deviant and violent beliefs. I pray that the Ilmfest lectures are available soon.
They are like bad apples. When they hit the ground, no one eats them. They just rot and decay into the ground. The good apples are the ones that are consumed and make their benefits reach their communities bodies and make them healthier and stronger. So let’s all be good apples and let the bad apples rot and decay into the ground. May Allah (swt) increase the good apples and decrease the bad apples. Ameen!