Imam Suhaib Webb

San Francisco–Imam Suhaib Webb Is an American convert to Islam with advanced degrees from Columbia University in New York City.  (He was born in Oklahoma, nonetheless!).  He immigrated to Egypt to study in Cairo, and now, at age thirty-seven, he is considered to be one of the most learned Muslim legalists having memorized the entire Koran!  He, also, is an important blogger, and, thus, had much to say about the new technologies and the faith as well as voicing profound observations on being an American and a Muslim.

He began with the statement that “blogging is the bridge between theology and the people!..Man is different because he can communicate….Communication is valued” amongst us.”  Webb stated that his conversion at twenty flowed out of reading a certain blog regularly, for there was not much of a direct way to get to know the Islamic World in Oklahoma.  “The practice of Islam is greatly misunderstood” by those outside the belief system.    Most people are confused by the differences in culture – not so much religious dissimilarities.  Neither the Muslim from abroad nor the mainstream U.S. non-Muslim feels that Islam is authenticated on these shores.  Therefore, it is common for the convert “to leave North America” as he did, also.

Dr. Webb refers to “Egypt” as “the ‘gumbo’ of the Muslim world.”  He still comes back to the States yearly not to lose his connections with his natal land.  I wish “to be with my own culture.”  Many “texts alienate Islam from America,” though.

Regarding his well-known blog, a commercial company originally financed it.  It won a commendation for the best website in Egypt last year.

In the West people are more open to cultural and religious diversity because of our history.  Regarding the traditions within Islam, he feels that “Religiosity should change over time, but no one has the right to divide us from our relationship with God.”  Except for our brothers and sisters in North America and Europe, unfortunately, the majority of the Islamic World is not yet in Modernity.”

Although there is respect for the legal books in the Middle East, there is still a fear of the clergy.  It’s OK for a Muslim to have doubts about his beliefs.  Through this inner struggle Allah becomes apparent. Historically, “Most Islamic divergence within religious Schools [of thought] grew out of politics rather than conviction.” Further, Suhaib stated that women disappear from the Islamic narration at an early period, and that had a political component, too, for legalists of that period did not understand social acceptability.

American converts have been looked down upon in the “nationality” of Islam itself in the United States.  This is a “Ridiculous distrust, and not an Islamic [one]!”  We should not have to migrate to Islamic lands.  “Your ‘investment’ is to listen to other Americans [outside of our community]”.  Muslims in the U.S.A. should recreate their customs within the context of this country.

“The stigmatism of racism exists in the Muslim world.” too.  American converts are treated with less respect than they should be by the Islamic immigrants although we are expanding at such a rate that we shall eventually be a force within that larger Islamic society.  As “America, we shall be able to wade through these difficult times” with both our Islamic and non-Islamic citizens.  Succinctly, it is a challenge to maintain our religion either here or there.

Concluding on the Islamic feminine, “Authority is to be earned; not enforced.”  Our creed is more gendered balanced on this Continent.  Women are quite competent in engaging in traditional scholarly debate, and the Islamic spheres should be fully comfortable with the scholarship engendered by them here.


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