Imam Zaid Shakir on ‘The Life of a Muslim Rock Star’

Assalamu ‘Alaikum,

Imam Zaid Shakir, in his latest article on his blog titled ‘The Life of a Muslim Rock Star’, highlights the time, effort, dedication that himself and others in his shoes are putting in to serving this deen. I would like to quote just two passages below: 

was aware of Cynthia McKinney’s predicament. However, on the day the story broke, Tuesday, June 30, I had to fly from California to the Washington DC area to teach at the Fawakih Arabic Intensive in Hearndon, Virginia. I caught a flight that departed San Francisco Airport 7:30 in the morning and landed in Virginia 4:30 that afternoon. As soon as I reached the venue I had a two-hour session. For the next two days, Wednesday and Thursday, I taught for five hours a day. I am not sure that you would understand what kind of energy and preparation goes into teaching five hours in a single day, but I do not think you would care anyway. You would be too busy looking for the flaws to provide yourself the opportunity to justify your assessment of my being a Muslim “rock star.”That Friday morning, I got a ride to Washington DC, left my wife in the hotel lobby to check in for the ISNA Conference, and left immediately for the DC Jail, without even setting foot into my room, via the subway in order to do the Jumu’ah there. I know that is not something Muslim rock stars are supposed to be doing, so apologize to you for that. After returning to the hotel, I barely had time to get a bite to eat before I proceeded over the next 48 hours to do ten sessions. You might call it ten sessions being a Muslim “rock star” I call it ten sessions serving my community because I was asked to do so by six different organizations. Among my sessions was participating in the first panel in the history of ISNA dedicated to the physically and mentally challenged and disabled. Unlike a rock star, I did not impose myself via a public relations staff on those organizations; they asked me to assist them in their respective efforts, and I gave everything I had trying to accommodate them. I might add, for your information, from those ten sessions, there was not a single honorarium.

I left the final session I was involved in 7:30pm Sunday evening, went to my hotel room hastily packed and went straight to Dulles Airport to catch a 10:05pm flight that night to London to participate in a four day, four city tour in England to help raise money for Islamic Relief’s efforts in Africa, which started Monday evening, the same day I arrived. I thank Allah that since returning from Mali I have helped to raise over $300,000 for the Muslims there. I am still in England now in the middle of that tour. That is why I haven’t had time to write anything about the travesty involving Cynthia McKinney.

Again, in response to one of your rhetorical questions, “Are there not vastly more important and pressing concerns for the umma, for all of us as human beings generally, as well as each of us individually?” Yes there are. If you do not like or appreciate the way I sacrifice my time, health, family, and ability to try to deal with them there is nothing I can do to help you. I will pray for you.

And he continues later in the article:

The only other thing I will say concerning Shaykh Hamza is that he has sacrificed time with his wife, his five sons, and his health has suffered mightily as a result of his running around serving this community. I will leave it at that.

 I sometimes feel like weeping when I read these statements as it makes me feel like I should be doing more, so much more …

Was Salam


5 thoughts on “Imam Zaid Shakir on ‘The Life of a Muslim Rock Star’”

  1. assalamu alaikum

    Brothers and sisters,

    Allah gave us minds with which to think, hearts with which to discern truth, and free will with which to submit to Him, or to turn away. We are judged by Him for all our thoughts and deeds, and we are responsible for all of them.

    Our “sheikhs” can not intervene for us in Allah’s judgement. We are accountable for all our deeds and we are fools to submit our minds, no less our hearts, to other fallible human beings whose message is “Do as I say, not as I do”. A’udu billahi.

    Islam is about justice, and there can be no justice without truth. If we turn a blind eye to the truth, how can we act effectively towards justice? The truth may be painful at times because it forces us to re-think our assumptions. So be it, then! The alternative is to live within a lie.

    The practice of compassionately veiling other people’s faults is noble. However, let us not allow this practice to be abused by people who would mislead others by appearing to be something other than what they are. But Allah knows best…

    May Allah guide us on the Straight Path.

  2. But wait – so do they get first class tickets for themselves and their entourages, and insist on them even when the host organization tells them they can’t afford this? Do they insist on 5 star hotels instead of the perfectly lovely $150 / night Holiday Inn? Didn’t one of them have a follower “gift” him a home worth $550,000 several years ago? Doesn’t one of them insist on having fresh cut flowers in every room of the 5 star hotel suite? Isn’t there that sheikh who insists that he is to be driven in a Cadillac or a Mercedes? Anyone else does it – including the nasheeds artists – and he’s a diva. These guys do it and it’s okay because they say “Look how much I’m giving.” Come on – every person in dawa work and organizing who’s had to deal with the Zaytuna people and some of these other ‘traditional Muslims’ knows the score. Fine, you work hard, but why insisting on the luxuries? My estimation for Imam Zaid just went through the floor.

    1. Rabiya, I am sure there has been some misunderstanding or misinformation somewhere as I would be extremely surprised, not to mention heartbroken, if what you say is truly the case. I hold a good opinion of these scholars and love them dealry as they have been a guidng light for me throughout my life.

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