Q: Asalaamu Alaykum Imam,
Martin L. King is a very well known activist. In remembrance to him a few friends (muslims and non-muslims) and I every year observe this day by enjoying in community service to betterment our community and ourselves.
But please do not get me wrong I am a firm believer that people should take part in community service when ever they can not just on a specific day.
Now my question is as the following is taking part in this national holiday a bidah?
May Allah subhan’ah waj’tala make us into great peaceful activist to betterment our society and our selves.
Time: Friday January 7, 2011 at 11:28 am
A: وعليكم السلام ورحمة الله وبركاته
I appreciate your question and concern. We live in times of wanting to appease groups that have been marginalized, or assist other groups (dominant parties) to not feel bad about the hurt that they may have inflicted upon others. Be as it may, I also appreciate your care and concern for humanity at large. However, in light of current statistics as it relates to African Americans, kindly here me out with the following:
Muslims must always realize that they too have days of worship and celebrations. Likewise, Muslims too have lost men and woman that stood for peace, justice and honor for all people. If Muslims celebrated their ‘heroes’ — be they in the likes of Billal (RA) of African descent, etc, then everyday would be a day of remembrance/celebration. As a side note, there is not a day when a Muslim does not think of Billal (RA) when the call of prayer is given. I think Muslims think of Billal (RA’s) contribution more than blacks and whites care to think about the honorable Martin L King.
I firmly believe that this day you have brought up was to appease African Americans into complacency and give the dominant culture a sense of guilt removal for their poor treatment towards Africans in America. I do acknowledge Martin Luther King did some great work, however, i still feel this day has been set aside as an ‘appeasement day’ for the ill treatment towards African Americans. If this day functions as an apologia, then we agree with such a gesture from the side of the dominant culture, however it cannot be viewed as enough. In Islam, such a day would not be sufficient, one has to do more for blacks for such an atonement to go through. Cloak and dagger tactics are not the route of religion.
One can give advice to others on this day just as they would on any other day. One should not set aside this day as special day of worship or remembrance; to rave and rant only about this man would be incorrect. Talking about the good all men and woman do and have done would be more supportive and encouraging of good actions.
Allah certainly Knows Best.