There is a process Muslims in the United States should know about, the creation of a sort of upside-down Islam. Upside-down Islam is empty and horrific and designed to take away meaning and purpose from your life. It is not the opposite of Islam or the other side of a coin. It’s a sucking machine.
I write a lot about Islamic Inheritance, which is a religious obligation, indeed an act of worship that depends on our religious freedom. Many other countries do not have enough religious freedom to allow for a basic form of religious devotion. The United States does have enough religious freedom, so Muslims can worship Allah by planning their estates based on His rules. Religious freedom is not something we can or should take for granted. Governments have taken away this right before in other places.
Go Left, Young Man (or Woman)
There has been a trend with Muslims making alliances with the political left of the United States. Aligning with the left makes sense since open hate of Muslims and Islam is an orthodox position on the political right, which is increasingly focused on white grievance politics. You don’t have a political “home” there unless you are a masochist. There are Muslim Republicans out there, I know one who goes to their events and gets invited to actual white nationalist group meetings. But what if the political left embraces Muslims only to get them to abandon everything they believe? What if it eventually becomes a shell of a religion where “Muslim” is just what you call yourself. It’s just a word and an empty one at that. No creed, no rules, nothing left to distinguish it from whatever else there is out there. The goal is to move you from Islam too, well, upside-down Islam.
What Kind of Religion is This?
I remember going to a reform Jewish funeral years ago sitting next to a colleague who was an orthodox Jew. The Rabbi told all of us gathered that “our God… is not a perfect God.” To my practicing Jewish colleague, this was crazy. What is G_d to this Rabbi he wonders? Is he some bumpkin who just slipped on a banana peel? How does this qualify as Judaism to him, much less an actual religion? Those who think of Judaism as a religious tradition can slowly find their rights threatened unless people have respect for those traditions. A movement within a loosely-defined “faith tradition” that takes the position God is a clutz is not a threat to religious freedom. When those people are the representatives of the faith with political leaders and the media, well that may be a problem. Unless their community is vigilant (and to their credit, they are), they may find circumcision, or kosher slaughter is forbidden. Many countries have banned Jewish rules of inheritance (like Islamic Rules). Why? It is easy to ban religious practices when most people in the affected religion don’t care or become hostile to the practice.
Beliefs and Values Matter
We did not have issues like the one I saw in the Jewish funeral within the American Muslim community back then that I can remember. That has changed. There are now well-established organizations of Muslims who care not one wit about Islam, the religion. Have a different Prophet after Muhammad (ﷺ) ? Is what Allah looks like dependent on your gender politics? Is a concept like fahisah just a conspiracy from the Patriarchy Industrial Complex? Are the words “man” and “woman” just a matter of opinion that has no theological or religious significance at all? You are all welcome to not only be considered a Muslim but to lead us and speak for us. It does not matter who funds you or what your agenda is. You are part of us. We don’t seem to distinguish between Islam and upside-down Islam.
We should also treat people who identify as LGBTQ with dignity and care about the rights of other faith communities or those who espouse no faith at all. However, a project like upside-down Islam is different. The goal here is to make it ok to mock Islam, its rules and traditions within our spaces. Upside-down Islam is a “reform” effort designed to make us indifferent at best, and hostile at worst, to our religion.
The “Muslim Brief” at the Supreme Court
As an example, I recently wrote about a Supreme Court brief by “Muslim Groups” on MuslimMatters about how “sex” should be treated like “religion.” It was a scam by a non-Muslim funded astroturf group. Muslim groups participated in this effort; some were gullible and naturally sympathetic to LGBTQ identifying communities. With some exceptions though, the list of scammed groups that (or who willingly went along) is unimpressive. It was gratifying how many Muslim groups did not sign on to this. Please read the article here.
I became an Islamic Estate Planning Lawyer and developed an expertise in Islamic Estate Planning understanding many American Muslims don’t care about the subject. Indeed many Muslims, including those that regularly go to the Masjid, had never even heard of it. As we know from a Hadith, Islamic Inheritance is half of all useful knowledge. This is knowledge the ummah will forget. It is also the thing “Muslim reformers,” promoters of upside-down Islam are most hostile. But that is not the only thing these folks want us to chuck from Islam. They will (and have) come after basic aqidah (creed), and turn haram into halal and halal into haram. The project is from merchants of ignorance who seem to want Muslims to hate Islam. Don’t buy what they are selling.
There is no Islam without Right and Wrong
Muslims do not have a shared experience for the most part (our tribes did not wander in the desert). Nor can we pretend to have a single ethnic or racial identity. Muslims come from many different places with many different experiences. Without Islam, the creed, the scripture, history, and rules, it is doubtful there is much of anything keeping us together. We have what Allah commanded us to do, worship Him. Here is no priority higher than that. We organize our lives our families and how we earn a living based on this requirement to worship. Allah has also told us to command what is good and forbid what is evil. There is no Islam without that. If there is no good, no evil, if everything we believed is defined away into nothingness, what is the point? For those who oppose Islam and us practicing it, the purveyors of upside-down Islam, that process is the goal. Make the religion a pointless set of rituals where we have no real fixed beliefs or values.
If you think your religion means something to you, focus on implementing it in your life and with your family. Hold Muslim leaders accountable when they falter and don’t support Muslim groups going along with this project.