Imam Suhaib Webb discusses the issues facing Muslims in the workplace during this friday khutbah (sermon) titled “Faith and the Cubicle.”
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About the author
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.
I am not a good narrator of a story but please bear with me. One of the experiences ( interview process ) I went through. 2010, I was jobless for more than 6-7 months and Somehow a recruiter approached me for an opening and arranged an interview with local team for their project. After doing their auditions tests with manager Stephannie and lead Nivedita. I politely could not shake hand with them and result of that they ditched my interview and I leave it to your imagination for its result. My wife was very proud of it. Understand that I did not get opportunity to explain myself so I did not count it against them for what they did (‘equal opportunity employers?) , a couple of months later got a call from same recruiter for interview with another team. been there, done everything got in the team and started working in a sister team of the originally interviewed one. Once happened to travel with Stephanie in the elevator and with her permission I tool the liberty to explain myself.
Me : I hope you won’t mind me explaining myself why I could not shake hand with you?
Her : Of course not!
Me : Thanks. Its part of personal modesty. I am working for few months here now and you could ask all female colleagues of the place I work with about any of my behavior affects any part of ‘professional’ communication. Please ask them.
Her : Sure, I will confirm it.
Me : Ok. Now please understand this behavior, as a Muslim in this disproportionately prejudiced and nasty propaganda filled world of North America may be not be appreciated on its face, but please understand where I am coming from. you don’t have to agree with what I am saying. its all about personal modesty. Only reason I could not shake hand with you of nivedita is because of personal modesty only. No sexist, racist ( big NO there for this) or any level of discrimination intended.
Her : Go on..(eagerly listening, so was everyone in that elevator, as Islam and Muslim is buzz word there.. )
Me : even if you are president of this country, I would treat you with same respect as even my first cousin i.e. politely not shake hand but that does not mean it would not meet any of pressing needs of work or chores at house or helping any one in need. Remember, intention is the most basic and essential for any action in Islaam. Please remember the epitome of modesty, mother Mary! Every person in this world respect her for her bashfulness (sharm, hayaa) and when a Muslim women try to be similar, she is deemed oppressed ((*&&^%%*()
Me : Please understand I am a man. And I wish to remain loving ONLY to my wife, without getting attracted to ANYONE. In Islam any communication, which is not related to work or need, is uncalled for between opposite sex who are not your blood relatives. If Muslim women are to dress modestly, then its men who are also ORDERED to lower their gaze and mind only what is their business. (unfortunately many sexist muslim males don’t really care to follow that) Are you getting it?
Her : Yes, go on.
I gave her an analogy and here is what I am trying to give it to you ( you don’t have to agree.. 🙂
Me : Suppose you (her), as my manager, gave me some documentation job, which is not my job description, and I am already busy with my deadline. And I said to you, stephanie I could not do this. Please ask the BA or someone who may be able to do it better than I could, also I am already loaded. Then you would note it as disobedience, as a manager ( may be used in any appraisal forthcoming). Now imagine if your boss, stephanie’s boss, comes and asks me to do the same job and I politely gave him/her the same answer giving my excuse for the inability to do the job. Now there will be consequences but little serious than the previous case with only stephanie involved. Now if her boss’s boss comes and tell me do the same thing,
Her : Then you are done ( meaning fired )
Me : exactly. Its not important here how miniscule of task am I not listening to but the position (degree, authority ) of person ordering me changed the consequences. Right?
Her : Yes.
Me : So in Islaam, we don’t see how small a commandment of God almighty we are disobeying but we see how Magnificent is the Lord who are we trying to disobey? If we expect the mercy from the most Merciful, we need to be merciful. (Don’t hope for mere justice from the Just, it would be terribly Just so hope for mercy and be merciful 🙂
Her : Could I get some lunch?
Me : i was heading for my afternoon prayers as well. I appreciate my managers accommodate me praying my couple of daily prayers on time as I am required to pray five times a day, as a Muslim. I reciprocate with working and filling in for the time as well. As a muslim keeps me accountability that there is someone who is going to take my account (hisaab) of every single deed, so I better be a good employee at work. A good son at home and a good neighbor and colleague and friend. This accountability towards Allaah helps a lot.
Her : Agreed. greatly appreciate it, Mirza. Thank you for the explanation. We thought of vague reasons about you. Thanks.
Me : Purpose of our life is to obey the commandments of God.
Her : Sure.
May Allah bless Sheikh for such a good talk..Aameen.
May Allah guide us to straight path,the path which is blessed one..Aameen
BarakAllah fika ya Imam Suhaib. What a pleasure listening to your khutba. SubhanAllah, I was wondering lately whether I should be quitting my job and focus more on my children, and I have to admit, rest a little from the work life, but that will also put more prssure on my husband to support our family. AlhamdulillAllah, after listening to you I have the answer. May Allah strengthen our faith. It will be interesting to know more about the 401k, is zakat applicable and how do we proceed with it?
There r a lot of ppl who have a “bad” understanding of kibr, wealth, dunya, I include myself to that, I have seen this in morocco, germany and through more than a million videos from the US , even in that khutbah suhaib had to adress this “misunderstanding”.
The question is, from where does this understanding come, is it because of the imam or of the person himself, I believe it is because of both , the younger the imam is the more time he has to learn himself and get wisdom through failure and tawba , and the person himself has to stop to think everythin the imam says is absolute and pure light, discussion is always helpful,
I’m a mental coach myself and I train a soccer team and I use the method of the prophet when they have a question , I say to them ” what do you think the answer could be ”
the prophet method : Who of you knows the answer, the sahaba responded with Allah and his Messenger knows best, and if they thought they could know the answer, they tried
the brain learns much better than just imposing the answer on the person, even Allah uses this method in the quran – wa ma adaraka ma-l-qariah ?
ps. how can someone from overseas can contact suhaib W. for specific questions ?
S a l a m
Assalaam Alai Kum,
SubhanAllah the khutbah was very helpful.During the khutbah you asked for brothers to volunteer for the book you plan to pen down.Would you please include my husband for this noble cause?
Would appreciate you response on this.
Jazzak Allah Khair,
Ha! Well done. Interstingly (as from Europe and with different understanding of the word cubicle) when I first read the title i throught this was a lecture about Faith and the Toilet!!!
This was absolutely amazing masha Allah. Baraka Allahu Feek Ya Shaikhna!
As you suggest in this khutbah to make a focus group and ask what issues working people go thru/face at work, I would suggest something similar to be done for single muslim women who are practising deen and keeping away from haram/zina and praying to Allah for good spouses. Yet, they are ostarcized by married couples and feel unwelcome at the masajids. This is a phenomeonon growing like cancer in our communities all over the US. We are told that we are too picky when all we want is a good muslim man who is educated and a provider (not like the example you mentioned here of the convert who is marrying 4 women to get SSI!!). I get told by men and women that I should “be the provider like Hazrat Khadijah”….WOW! I am not like her however much I may aspire to be and she was not the Prophet (SAW) provider! And the men looking to be spouses in the majority of case are not even a fraction of the Prophepts’ characteristics. This epidemic is spreading fast and many girls are waiting and getting frustrated of being told to ask their imams (my imams took my info and never looked back!), ask older women in the community (who bring sorry to say, total rejects (I have been offered to marry guys who have been 3-4 times divorced and don’t have jobs). Please, help us start looking at this worsening problem in the ummah.
Br. Suhaib Webb,
Assalamualikum. How are you? I live in Phoenix, AZ and I work for corporate America. I heard your July 1st kuthba and I want to volunteer for your project/book about the culture & struggle for Muslims in corporate America. By the way, the kuthba was very good and title was excellent. Thank you very much.
Any Prayers for the People in Somalia who are suffering the worst Drought in 6 decades?
Interested in the book but wondering if females in the workplace can be included in the focus groups. I can appreciate the need for answers but hope the need for balance is included. I would be interested to know how many men are he sole providers in the household and how the division of household duties takes place. For many, walking out the house is so much easier than walking in.
Thanks for your website and recordings I can learn from kutbahs even as I am not able to attend the mosque.
[…] the reference to a “fiqh of the cubicle” [from the audio], see Imam Suhaib Webb’s khutbah. Tags: Abu Hurayrah, al-Tabrizi, al-Wabil as-Sayyib, Attributes of God, clemency, du’ah, […]
ASALAMA ALAIQUM BROS N SIS… MAY ALLAH FORGIVE US ALL N GRANT US PARADISE…AMIN. I’M A CHICANO CONVERT N U BROTHER SUHAYB CAN RELATE TO US IN THE HOOD…I’VE BEEN AROUND ALOT OF BROS OUT OF THE PRISON SYSTEM N WE ALL END UP LOCKED UP AGAIN…PLEASE SPEAK ON THE USE OF DRUGS (INCLUDING ALCOHOL) N HOW IT AFFECT OUR RELATIONSHIP WITH OUR CREATOR AND HIS CREATION…I PERSONALLY STOPPED THE USE OF IT ALL…AL HAMDI LILAH…BUT PEOPLE CLOSE TO ME HAVE DIED AND SOME ARE STILL CHASING N SOME HAVE BEEN HANDICAPED…SO BRO CAN U SPEAK ON THIS ISSUE SO I CAN USE IT FOR MYSELF N THOSE I LOVE… STAY STRONG BROS N SISTERS..PEACE
Could you please make sure the book of fatwas you were talking about (http://goo.gl/zOR1Q) is well published and marketed? It’s much needed!
“In the relationship with Tawheed, is that someone recognizes the ni’mah of Allah, where Allah has placed him in this life, and they don’t pull out of that using (hidden)desires as an excuse.”
Can you cite the exact reference please? I seriously need to read more on this.