Tuesday, March 04, 2008

imam zaid shakir: should muslims use the “n” word?

From Should Muslims Use The “N” Word? by Imam Zaid Shakir

Do not call each other by demeaning nicknames: How foul is a name connoting vileness… Al-Qur’an 49:11


Words in this regard are part of the forces that engender a healthy human consciousness in us. Furthermore, individual words do not stand alone, in terms of the reality they define. They are part of a system of meaning that informs a conceptual worldview. In affirming the acceptability or even the desirability of freely using the term “nigger” we are not endorsing a single term, we are endorsing a verbal culture that collectively works to dehumanize our youth. For example, popularizing the term “nigga’” has been accompanied by the enhanced acceptability and widespread usage of bi_, ho’ (whore), dog, motherf__, sh__ and a host of other terms that historically were associated with vulgar language. Collectively, they are part of an integrated culture characterized by nihilism, hedonism, self-hatred, and an increasingly alienated disconnection from mainstream society.

God declares in the Qur’an, You are the best people raised up to benefit humanity. You enjoin the right, forbid the wrong and believe in God. (3:110) Enjoining right and forbidding wrong are part of the mission of the Muslims. Doing so requires a well-established standard of right and wrong. Part of the effort to undermine religion lies in the undermining of revealed or widely accepted moral standards. In the ensuing confusion, many things long held to be blameworthy and in many instances almost universally condemned become acceptable. Illegitimate children, foul language, uncouth and slothful comportment, open displays of sexual affection (both heterosexual and homosexual) and sloppy dressing have all become acceptable or even encouraged behavior, as we move ever further down a slippery slope in what amounts to a moral race to the bottom.

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