Home / Current Affairs / Unscripted #17 | Smile2Jannah funny-man has a grown-up conversation

Unscripted #17 | Smile2Jannah funny-man has a grown-up conversation

Zeeshan Ali from Smile2Jannah joins Umer and Salman, but a side of him you’ve probably never seen before.

They talk about different Da’wah strategies, the dangers and opportunities of social media, and much much more.


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Also watch:

Unscripted #4 | Sh Haitham al-Haddad speaks about battling cancer

Unscripted #5 | Imam Yahya talks about Qira’at, Jinn encounters and more

Unscripted #6 | LGBT in Schools—why are Muslim parents protesting?

Unscripted #7 | Turning down the Prime Minister!

Unscripted #8 | Should Omar Esa join our halal boy band?

Unscripted #9 | Sh Dr Yasir Qadhi joins the Unscripted Podcast

Unscripted #10 | We join HT

Unscripted #11 | Sh Sajid Umar & Social Media Dramas

Unscripted #12 | We joined HT for REAL this time with Dr. Abdul Wahid

Unscripted #13 | Learning Islam in the West – Sh Asif Uddin

Unscripted #14 | Understanding Kashmir with Adnan Rashid

Unscripted #15 | Muslim Youth Crisis with Kamran “Dr Deen”

Unscripted #16 | GCSEs are dumb | Usman Qureshi


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  1. Finally, regarding brother Umer’s comment about ‘academic arrogance’. I’m not sure but I think he was alluding to how some people may consider brother Zeeshan’s work to be ‘dumbing people down’ [my words not brother Umer’s]. I think that western psychologists refer to it as ‘arrogance of the intellect’ and, like I commented elsewhere, psychologists have said that there is no link between IQ/intelligence and wisdom. Also, this fascination with academia reminds me of Hizb ut-Tahrir’s downward-spiral at the end of 90s when, in practice (not according to any written methodology of theirs that I knew of) their conferences became events in which they would see it as important to get as many ‘doctors’ to give talks as possible, to the extent that some of their members were even writing their qualifications after their names in their wedding cards!

    The fact that this deen was revealed to an illiterate man and was carried on the backs of the poor and slaves as well as on the shoulders of men who had no civilisation worth mentioning or even conquering, should remind us that the way forward for this ummah never has been and never will be dependent on our academic success. Yes, as Muslims we should be articulate but we should take heed of the words of a dear friend of mine (an English revert and a privately educated, competent English teacher) who was responding to two Islam 21st Century articles that I sent her. She said, “The second article was a bit pretentious really. There were some interesting statements, but it seemed to be more of an intellectual exercise than anything else.”

  2. Also, brother Omer posed a great question that if we were in ‘perfect Islamic conditions’ then would what we are producing be as it is now, and he’s mentioned in this and other podcasts the idea of ‘filling a void’. This scenario reminds me of the Bani Israeel at the time of Prophet Musa (on him be peace) and how despite the many miracles they had witnessed and the fact that they had been rescued in a momentous, miraculous event by the crossing of the sea, not only did they refuse to fight to enter Jerusalem but they also got fed up with eating the foods of Jannah that Allah had given them: mannah and salwah. Instead, they wanted to eat the foods they ate when they were slaves in Egypt: herbs, cucumbers, garlic, lentils and onions.

    Ultimately, they, under the leadership of the great prophet Musa, did not enter Jeruslaem, but their children who were raised under Musa (AS) fought and entered Jerusalem. I’m sorry to sound so cynical, but my point is that, like the brother who made a comment under the ‘GCSEs are Dumb’ podcast said, the problem is US and not our children; WE are the ones who can’t seem to let go of our past (especially the music and movies) and are clinging to the duniya, like the Bani Israeel, and Musa (AS) didn’t ‘pander’ to them nor did he ‘fill voids’. Rather, this disobedient generation were left to age and die and the true victory came to the next, uncorrupted generation who were raised by Musa (AS).

  3. Alhamdulillah, a lot of important points were mentioned and I think that the presenters ‘grilled’ brother Zeeshan more than they challenged Omar Essa in his podcast. I’m going to talk a bit about Omar Essa first as both podcasts are essentially about making dawa through different ‘arts’. I’ll make three separate points to address different issues.

    Firstly, regarding ‘arts’, we should be aware of the famous words of Ja’far ibn Abi Talib to the Negus of Abyssinia, “He (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) commanded us to… cease all forbidden arts…”? There’s no doubting that Omar Essa has come a long way from his jahiliyyah days and may Allah reward him for what he has endured and struggled with within himself. He along with many others are firm in their conviction that what they do is within shar’iah. However, many of us are not ‘haters’ but as the generation who first broke free from the traditional Islam that our parents new, to an understanding of Islam as a way of life and of being part of a global ummah, seeing the ‘Islam’ of these nasheed artist brothers is extremely worrying. Their songs are so far removed from the original fatwas about the requirements of ‘permitted anasheed’ that we were given. They remind one of the wise words of our beloved prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) who said,

    “Consult your heart. Righteousness is that about which the heart feels tranquil and the soul feels tranquil, and sin is that which wavers in the heart and moves to and fro in the breast even though people again and again have given you their legal opinion [in its favour].”

    Omar Essa mentioned that he wasn’t permitted to sing at a traditional UK madrassah (I can’t find the exact words he used) but around 10 years ago the people of this minhaj, at the behest of Ummah Welfare Trust, allowed two Saudi munshids (one was the famous Abu Ali) to sing not only at their madrassahs but also inside their masaajid. It wasn’t that long ago, but you simply had two men with a piece of paper singing, without all the moving, hand gesturing and acting which does make many people uncomfortable and puts people off. There are slight differences between poetry, rap and spoken words but it’s the gesturing and acting that look so much like imitating the disbelievers and our jahiliyyah past that put people off listening to rap and spoken word. The brothers should look up one video that was posted on YouTube 10 years ago, with the munshids performing in Birmingham, to understand better why such people may not want Omar Essa type ‘nasheeds’ and why they allowed Abu Ali to perform there.

    Furthermore, the presenters asked brother Zeeshan about ‘pandering to the people’ and really the same would have been true, probably more so, for the Omar Essa podcast. However, they also keep mentioning about people ‘having a limit within the bounds of shar’iah’ but like brother Zeeshan said, “The deen’s becoming so dilute and people find an excuse for anything and everything.” Sadly, I don’t think that the voices of scholars or of people of knowledge are being listened to or taken seriously and certainly there are respected ustaadhs linked to Islam 21st Century and Eman Channel who do seem to be trying, through their talks, to keep people in check, but instead, charity and nasheed concert events are looking more like night clubs than ever before.

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