About the author

Suhaib Webb

Suhaib Webb is a contemporary American-Muslim educator, activist, and lecturer. His work bridges classical and contemporary Islamic thought, addressing issues of cultural, social and political relevance to Muslims in the West. After converting to Islam in 1992, Webb left his career in the music industry to pursue his passion in education. He earned a Bachelor’s in Education from the University of Central Oklahoma and received intensive private training in the Islamic Sciences under a renowned Muslim Scholar of Senegalese descent. Webb was hired as the Imam at the Islamic Society of Greater Oklahoma City, where he gave khutbas (sermons), taught religious classes, and provided counselling to families and young people; he also served as an Imam and resident scholar in communities across the U.S.

From 2004-2010, Suhaib Webb studied at the world’s preeminent Islamic institution of learning, Al-Azhar University, in the College of Shari`ah. During this time, after several years of studying the Arabic Language and the Islamic legal tradition, he also served as the head of the English Translation Department at Dar al-Ifta al-Misriyyah.

Outside of his studies at Al-Azhar, Suhaib Webb completed the memorization of the Quran in the city of Makkah, Saudi Arabia. He has been granted numerous traditional teaching licenses (ijazat), adhering to centuries-old Islamic scholarly practice of ensuring the highest standards of scholarship. Webb was named one of the 500 Most Influential Muslims in the World by the Royal Islamic Strategic Studies Center in 2010.

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  • Salaam’Alaykum

    Imam Suhaib, May Allah bless you and bestow his Mercy upon you.
    I Love you for the sake of Allah big guy!

    I totally agree about the importing of divisive theology which in reality are academic and not relevant to the average er…Abdul.

    May Allah make us more socially relevant and united – wish we could have all have a group hug!


  • Salaam aleikum shaykh,

    Shaykh, you said Imams should be accessible to the masses so hear me out.

    The idealized unity of ilm (theology of complexes and groupisms) is too difficult to achieve, but what we need and what we CAN achieve is the unity of amal (community issues, personal issues). Leaders of different groups of Muslims to come together and work for the common good of the Muslims. We need people such as YOURSELF to lead the way- Muslims with their inferiority complexes and societal problems need people to lead and follow. And in this mess we have set up some shaykhs as kings, while others as paupers. The kings need to take charge and work together, or else, they will be little different than Musharaff or Mubarak, or any other despot back home.
    1-the shuyookh such as yourself need to take the lead in these social issues so all will follow and unite Muslims on the platform of improving their condition and that of everyday Americans!

    If this does not happen- which my cynical side is apt to believe- then we will set up a tyranny of the ulema that will oppress the Muslims by their own corruption, lack of hikmah, lack of leadership, and docile serving of their own interpretations and make our community much much worse than it presently is. Their will be no ‘open society’ to allow for change and will not be able to warn the brothers that they’re deen has been manipulated or they are hurting only their own selves with their narrow-minded thinking! Open the doors to what you might not like to hear in the interest of the Muslims that look up to you.

    Lastly, young brothers have come to my cities masjid drunk and high on marijuana, and we have no imam or shaykh near us, yet we do youth work in the masjid because no one is doing it. But we have little to support us and when we seek help and hear from religious brothers who don’t want to help unless their ‘shaykh’ ratifies it- we get frustrated because the deen has become an obstacle for doing a simple good deeds. This is why progressives, and indeed virtually any practicing Muslim, are tired of the ulema and their argumentation – because of the little ‘islands’ of my aqeedah and your aqeedah or this soofee and that pseudo-wahabbi dichotomy that they have set up, or their hiding in their masjids and not representing Islam to the non-Muslim society at large. All of this has hurt us because: 1) it is not true Islam such that any heart can accept it. 2) it has caused more problems for us 3) and only resulted in non-Muslims hating us because we are ignorant to how we affect and shape the world by how we practice Islam

    And this is WHY we need a Western American/Canadian vision of Islam, one that not only adheres to the Quran and our Rasul salallahu alayhi wasalam but also one that isn’t run by brainwashed people or some big ulema sitting in a gold-plated masjid in Saudi Arabia (no disrespect) but rather run and maintained by people who understand how people work here and how to make Islam relevant and true to their needs.

    Sit down with Muslim activists more often, people who work for the sake of Islam, discuss with them how to deal with these issues and influence communities to become relevant to society. You will quickly realize that your words CAN do more than any average Muslim activist can do alone or even with a group- because people will listen and focus in on the problems facing our community. The Islamophobia, the druggies, the family problems, the struggles with preserving our chastity, the difficulties of even practicing the deen!

    I am saying all this and I can’t do a thing because my name isn’t Suhaib Webb, but when Sh. Suhaib Webb doesn’t just say it, but starts projects, initiatives and pushes the right buttons, our problems will be dealt with no differently than how the Prophet salallahu alayhi wasalam would deal with them, bi idhni Allah!

  • Jazaka Allahu Khair. Very timely and relevant. I remember when Imam WD Mohammed (RA) was talking about the need to be theologically and socially relevant in the 1980’s and a lot of muslims were saying that he was deviant. He grabbed the American Flag on stage and started waving it saying; “If you will not carry it, I will.” It took 9/11 for most muslims to get it!
    I spent 11 years in prison, I embraced Islam there. Some of the theology that some of the believers are bringing will not get a crack dealer off the street, nor will it take the single welfare mom and transform her! I am now an Imam in my city and I see these type of people at the mosque every Jumuah. It is because we try to stay socially relevant and been doing this for years.

  • AA,
    imam Suhaib…ur always inspiring me man….
    May Allah bless, protect, and guide you….
    inshallah ill see u soon…welcome back to Egypt……

  • Excellent. Real. Sincere. May He Most High and Most Worthy of Praise grant you the highest ranks. aameen.

    Imam Suhaib, when are you coming to the UK next? You mentioned that you’d be doing a double weekend course, at the last course you did, (approaching the quran and sunnah)… Students are saving up their pennies, we need you, please come down. UK talks/ courses have gone DOWNHILL to the point of no return. The sheykhs here, really don’t understand us.

    wasalamu aleykum w/w

  • a gold-plated masjid in Saudi Arabia (no disrespect)

    or an expensive rug in Pakistan…or government funds in Egypt….or among swirlers in Morrocco…or in an Army mosque in Mauritania….(no disrespects of course)

  • Simply…..Beautiful, the most inspiring speech i have heard in my life. Jazakilluha khairun. Now i need to go figure out how to apply this in my life.
    Thanks again.

  • Very good wise words, very releveant to these times.. alot of social issues seem so easy to break done theoretically, but in practice Muslims are acting like its hard!! An we claim to have the strongest DIn(deen)!!

  • […] by saying Al Salaam Aleikum, May Peace be Upon You, and told the packed auditorium that he hopes …The Need To Be Socially Relevant ISNA 2008 Main Session …Salaam'Alaykum. Imam Suhaib, May Allah bless you and bestow his Mercy upon you. I Love you for the […]

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