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Scholar's Thoughts on Obama’s visit

Asalamu alaykum:

The last few weeks have been nothing short of a hurricane for me. Ask anyone who knows me and the word that seems to follow me is “exams.” It is exam season and I have had very little time to catch my breath. However, over the last few weeks I was able to talk with some scholars, as well as others, and get a feeling on the President’s important visit. First, I would like to thank the President for his important visit and al-Azhar as well as Cairo University for the excellent job in welcoming here. I hope and pray that all parties will be able to build on what is good and beneficial.

Quotes of Scholars:

Dr. Yusuf al-Qaradawi:

We welcome him based on the fact that he spoke of a collective effort in the Muslim world based on mercy, cooperation and mutual benefits.

Dr. Ali Guma:

I was told by his top assistant that the sheikh was very “pleased” with the visit and has great hopes for the future.

Dr. ‘Abdullah bin Bayyah:

Sh. Bin Bayyah noted that the speech marked an important turning point in America’s relationship with the Muslim world stating, “That such a discourse had never been witnessed before.” He also noted the respect giving to Islam’s rich history and the new direction of encouragement to build relationships between the two even if they failed to agree on political issues completely.” The Sheikh noted the discourse of President Obama was similar to that used by him and other scholars. He noted that although both parties fail to agree on a number of issues such as the  going wars in the Muslim world and the plight of the Palestinians, there is still a great opportunity to work towards mutual cooperation and justice even if we fail to see eye to eye politically.

Conversations with Scholars:

Dr. ‘Amir Wardani [head of the fatwa training program at the Egyptian House of Fatwa]

I was touched by his speech. By Allah ya Suhaib, I was almost brought to tears. When I saw him walking in the mosque, I felt he was a man of great moral character. He defended Western Muslims; presented them in an excellent fashion.

Dr. Salah al-Zaydan [Professor of Us̩ūl al-Fiqh in al-Azhar and one of the faculties’ senior scholars]

“His speech was excellent MashaAllah.”

Suhaib: “Yes, but some are saying ‘New film same production team.’”

Dr. Salah al-Zaydan: “Look, put anyone else in that position and let them say more. He was respectable and greeted us with honor respect and dignity. He represented Western Muslims well; and he made concessions towards our brothers in Palestine which were admirable. Allah says, “Return [the greeting] with the same or with one that is better.” We must take this opportunity to build on this important step. We all stand together against crimes and acts of aggression against the innocent.”

Dr. Sherman Jackson:

He did an excellent job and portrayed Western Muslims in an excellent light.

The Egyptian people:

Miah Miah! Ihna bhibbuh!

About the author

Suhaib Webb

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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  • MR i wouldnt go as far as painting the picture black and white…I think a lot of the Muslims in the west could relate to the following point of view, expressed by Tariq Ramadan (may God grant him mercy):

    “The best way to push Barack Obama to face up to his responsibility in America, in the Middle East or elsewhere is for Muslims to start by facing up to their own without blindly demonizing America or the West or naively idealizing a charismatic African-American US President.” -Tariq Ramadan

    …neither demonize the west nor idealize a man based on his gracefulness and elegance with words…

    Omar E

  • Assalamu Alaykum!

    Jazakallah Khairan and good luck with your exams!!! We pray for your success insha'allah.



  • assalamu `alaykum Shaykh,

    What do you think of the increasing military offensive in Pakistan? Innocent Muslims have died as a result of Obama's push to focus on “terrorism” there.

    I am sincerely asking, since I do not know – when the lives of Muslims are lost, do we ever stand behind the leader who allowed (or perhaps even encouraged) the injustice? (This doesn't even touch upon the fact that Obama's lawyers has publicly defended in court the spy tactics used by Bush's administration.)

    jazak Allahu khayran.

  • Salam

    Please read this. It's a transcript from Democracy Now:

    “Five founders of the Holy Land Foundation, once the nation’s largest Muslim charity, have received prison terms of up to SIXTY FIVE years on charges of supporting the Palestinian group Hamas. The five were never accused of supporting violence and were convicted for funding charities that aided needy Palestinians. The government’s case relied on Israeli intelligence as well as disputed documents and electronic surveillance gathered by the FBI over a span of fifteen years.”

    SIXTY FIVE years in prison for raising charity for the “wrong” side. While huge miscarriages of justice like this one are happening in America, I find it very, very hard to accept anything that Obama says.

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