Virtual Pulpit: Net Mosques, Congregations & Imams – Talk by Imam Suhaib Webb


Virtual Pulpit: Net Mosques, Congregations & Imams

Speech by Imam Suhaib Webb at the “Islam and Media” conference, held on March 8th, 2010 at UC Berkeley.

This event was the second in a series organized by UC Berkeley’s Centers of South Asia, Southeast Asia and the Middle East Studies in their year-long Islam Today program. This program, with the theme “Islam, New Media and Youth Culture” was designed to explore how Muslim youth around the world are using new media, politics and popular culture to explore their identities, find “virtual” communities, promote new agendas and confront stereotypes.
Imam Suhaib entered the blog world early on and he describes the blog as a bridge between the idealized notions of theology and the realties of everyday life- a place where the convent meets Times Square and clergy meets the masses.
This event was sponsored by the Center for Southeast Asia Studies, the Center for South Asia Studies and the Center for Middle Eastern Studies at UC Berkeley. It was co-sponsored by the Center for Islamic Studies at GTU, Altmuslim.com, the Asia Society Northern California, and the Arab Cultural and Community Center.

This event was the second in a series organized by UC Berkeley’s Centers of South Asia, Southeast Asia and the Middle East Studies in their year-long Islam Today program. This program, with the theme “Islam, New Media and Youth Culture” was designed to explore how Muslim youth around the world are using new media, politics and popular culture to explore their identities, find “virtual” communities, promote new agendas and confront stereotypes.

Imam Suhaib entered the blog world early on and he describes the blog as a bridge between the idealized notions of theology and the realties of everyday life- a place where the convent meets Times Square and clergy meets the masses.

This event was sponsored by the Center for Southeast Asia Studies, the Center for South Asia Studies and the Center for Middle Eastern Studies at UC Berkeley. It was co-sponsored by the Center for Islamic Studies at GTU, Altmuslim.com, the Asia Society Northern California, and the Arab Cultural and Community Center.

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13 Comments

  1. Ahmed says:

    Ma’sha’allah, that was a great talk Imam Webb. I thoroughly enjoyed it as it was so informative, especially as to how we, as American Muslims, should see ourselves as community members on the larger scale. Also, the point about Taqwa and being alone in front of the computer (as I am now!) while still upholding what the Prophet told us in terms of our speech – very relevant to today’s online world. Jazak’Allahu Khairan.

  2. Haq says:

    This is really good mashaAllah, I can relate to soo much that was said..barakAllahu feek :D

  3. Khalid says:

    May Allah bless America and the world with more of the likes of Imam Suhaib.
    A perspective that makes so much sense.
    Thank You Imam Suhaib.

  4. Uncle Tom says:

    It was a good talk but I don’t get why everyone is trying to solve the “Western Muslim problem”…

    • Yus from the Nati says:

      What do you mean?

      • Uncle Tom says:

        What I was getting at was that there are no unique “western muslim problems”. Muslims face pretty much the same issues all around the world.

        Majority of the issues that come up in the West are because we have Muslims from different Islamic backgrounds.

  5. Suhaib Webb says:

    Asalamu alaykum,

    Dear Uncle Tom:

    I was simply addressing the topic given to me. I clearly stated that I don’t have those solutions to the problem you mentioned, but simply offered my reflections on my experience with this site and my interactions with Muslims in the West.

    As Western Muslims, it is our duty to focus on that issue, but maintain enough humility to realize that we could be wrong on many of our assumptions.

    SDW

  6. muslimun says:

    Salaam,
    17 thousand!!? Lol. What were you doing? Counting from the stage in the eid bayaan?

    a very powerful and enlighting talk delivering the sparking purpose of visiting blogs such as this one. I have never heard a speech such as this one. Displaying the unity and love we are to have as american muslim identity, everyone should listen to this speech. May allah reward imam suhaib and may allah guide this ummah to unity, ameen

  7. asraf ismail says:

    Assalamualaikum Imam,

    Barakallahufik for a very good speech and sharing it in the net.

    I have to be honest with you, i personally felt like tears rolled down my eye when you described about your transition of thoughts from point of Qutbism, Abu a’la Al-Maududi, to salafis, to classical literature, and till today, synthesis of islam.

    I had the same experience in my life as what your described, and reached the same point as you said about synthesis, and wallahi, i had done a lot of damage along the way before reaching to the synthesis point especially to people around me (friends, family, etc)and it took years to understand it. I believed previous years are hikmah for the present me.

    Thank you so much for sharing your experiences as i really2 appreciate it and never thought that someone as great and renowned as you are would have the same experience. I am shocked the fact that i am from east (malaysia) and you from west(america) would experience the same thing especially with totally different cultures, paradigms and life experiences.

    I will make dua’ for you and for all the work you are doing. May Allah bless you and gives you His taufiq and hidayah to support you more for your da’wah in america.

    Jazakallahukhairan kathira

  8. Abu Adam says:

    Salaam aleikoem , wr, wb

    Something bothers me about the lecture and about the given examples. Just like the transition of thoughts from point of Qutbism, Abu a’la Al-Maududi, to salafis, to classical literature, and till today, synthesis of Islam. I found it more a critical experience given by a new Muslim. May Allah help us to stay on his path.
    By the way there are much more greater examples where the youth are feeling very save to talk to. Its not only the daa3ie muhaasib Amr Khalid or others you mentioned. In Egypt there is Sheikh Muhammad Hassan, Sheich El Hawayny, Sheich Hussein Jacob. Some mustaftien from the youth feel good when they the go to a sheich and he would ease things up for them, so that those youth like them. Sincerity and truth is the most important thing in Islam. An example I was standing with a sheikh and a youth came to him and asked him. Is smoking haram? The So-called sheich told him its not haram to smoke. I asked the sheikh why you said its not haram. The sheikh told me, because its not Haram and the young man can’t stop anyway. Oke is this your daliel. I went to the boy and told the young man. I overheard your question and I would like to respond about it, because I think you are really sincere and wants to no the answer. He told me yes, I want to know, because I want to please Allah and his messenger. I give him the daliel from the Quran and Sunnah that it is Haram and he accepted it. The Young man stopped that day with smoking because of the sincerity and real search for truth. One time a sister questioning the wearing of hidjaab in Holland. The Shuyoogh or Daa3ieja in Islam must be sincere and upon the truth. The youth (people in general) needs honesty, sincerity, truth, guidance and patience.
    May Allah guide us all
    Abu Adam, Ibrahim

  9. abdifatah says:

    I knew that the Imam went through a lot since i pay close attention to him and accept him as my teacher and most of all my BIG BROTHER. Your experiences shaykh make you who you are and a better person at that. May Allaah guide and fill your life with success. Ameen

  10. Julie (UK) says:

    Salam all
    I have to say this lecture is a breath of fresh air!
    As a 30something, like the Imam, and as someone who also happily grew up on rappers such Eric B and Rakim and Public Enemy, I can fully relate to him on that level!
    Here in the UK our issues are similar to the US in some ways and different in others. Muslims are often quick to point out the faults of others while not willing to look within our own backyard. The way Muslims are judgemental on each other and so narrow minded is what is always upsetting. Converts and even just young people from all backgrounds need room to grow and not be judged by others so quickly. I live in the UK and am proud to be British and Muslim and a woman and a convert and a mum of 4. I see no issue with any of that and am happy to be alive! Thanks Imam Suhaib and I’d love to hear more of your honest, fresh analysis, this crazy world needs it!

  11. M says:

    Peace,

    Thank you much brother William for the enlightening lecture. I could not agree more that there is tension within Muslim communities regarding identification and performance roles. As an American Muslim of both White and Arab heritage, I feel lonely with regard to my culture and upbringing. There were a number of tense scenarios which you bring up in this lecture which I have heard of and witnessed in person, the most simple of which being my name and the wall issue. I wrote an essay some time ago regarding culture and religion. If you would not mind, I would love to share my writing with you and ask for your opinions regarding it. Please e-mail me so that I may respond with my essay.

    Jazak Allah Khair wa Baraka

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