Friday, July 29

Nouman Ali Khan

When we were asked to pray in the parking lot this Jummah, my cousin's first attempt at explanation was that it was the holidays and that we had arrived late. Still, even he suggested that the rush was unprecedented given those circumstances, so we were a little bemused at the crowd at the Markaz Ul Islam today.

It was not until the video feed begun on the projector screen that I realised the real reason for the rush: Nouman Ali Khan was the guest khateeb for today. Obviously the increase in volume in the women's section was the reason the men were pushed out. These rockstar imams eh?

Seriously though, I saw it as a good spot of luck that we had inadvertently found ourselves listening to Ali Khan today. I've never had the opportunity to listen to him[1], but I have heard many good things from those (again, mainly women) who subscribe to his works (both figuratively and literally) so I was interested in checking him out.

But to be honest I was pleasantly surprised at what I heard. Yes, there were platitudes and yes there was a bit of overt feminism, but both were in good measure. The message - which was on self control mainly in the context of interacting with others - was less prescribed than advisory, and was open enough for those listening to build their own paths forward. It was deep and nuanced yet presented well, with humour and clarity, and not the simplistic unilateral messages I've come to expect from the more populist khateebs.

Of course I won't be following him on Twitter quite yet, but as khutbas go this was a good one.

[1] if your reply to that is "check YouTube" then you're misinterpreting my diplomacy.

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