IllMuslims – Fun or Fitna?

I meet two kinds of people when I talk about IllMuslims. 

Hamid: Isn’t it basically a Muslim rave? I also heard there’s music and mixing. But yo Ahmed listen if you see any girls let me know, I’m trying to get married still. I know you know people.

Fatima: Finally. About time! There’s nothing out there right now for young Muslims to get together and be social. Ahmed, are you going?

Khalid: Do you smell something burning? It’s the smell of your new Yeezy shoes and leather man skirt burning in hell. Your fashion won’t testify for you on the day of judgement, akhi.

Okay, okay. I actually never met a Khalid that said that. But if I did, I would tell him that the ihsan, even for fashion goes down in the good book. Shoutouts to jannah! Ain’t nobody got time for jahanam.

Some Muslims are taken back by the idea of IllMuslims. Firing up their Facebook app, they cycle through event photos of previous events. The mixing, music and mocktails instantly throws the event in the ‘haraam’ bucket.

Some Muslims love the idea of IllMuslims. Firing up their Facebook app, they cycle through event photos of previous events. The friends, fun and food instantly throws the event in the ‘halal’ bucket.

Millennial ijtihad at its finest. Ain’t it a beauty. We have some Muslims who think this social is fun and we have some Muslims who think this social is fitna. So what’s the verdict? Neither. Nada. To look at IllMuslims as either “fun” or “fitna” takes away from the bigger problem we have that we won’t admit and shows how shallow we are in our ijtihad.

In history, Islam showed itself to be culturally friendly and, in that regard, has been likened to a crystal clear river. Its waters (Islam) are pure, sweet, and life-giving but—having no color of their own—reflect the bedrock (indigenous culture) over which they flow. In China, Islam looked Chinese; in Mali, it looked African. Sustained cultural relevance to distinct peoples, diverse places, and different times underlay Islam’s long success as a global civilization. The religion became not only functional and familiar. –  Dr. Umar Faruq Abd-Allah, Islam and the Cultural Imperative.

We have a big problem. Young Muslims don’t have a cool culture they can call their own. We copy and paste, imitate and mimic culture in North America. Our spiritual ancestors used to define the culture of design, architecture and art with inventions, wonders and ground breaking ideas. Now, our most noticeable breakthrough in culture is your cliché Muslim parody shirt in the bazaar. Before you give me that ish about “but he had good intentions” – just because you have good intentions doesn’t mean you are making good decisions. Moving along.

Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t. Culture is a big experiment. I respect IllMuslims because they’re taking a stab at a problem that we face and a problem your kids will face. Being Muslim and being cool.

I don’t respect you if you’re an armchair analyst ripping on organizations trying to fix the issue. You’re just noise. Either you’re part of the problem or you’re a part of the solution. For the ummah to address the polemic of culture, it’s going to take lots of failures and successes. Maybe IllMuslims is part of the solution, maybe it isn’t. But I’m willing to take the risk to build a culture for my family, community, and one day my children, insha’Allah.

“Make due allowance for man’s nature, and enjoin the doing of what is right; and leave alone all those who choose to remain ignorant.”- Qur’an, 199. Translated by Muhammad Asad.

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