Thursday, November 12, 2009

a call

I started writing these posts about 13 months ago, and I started to put them up about 5 months ago. When I started writing them, they were for my sake. I thought writing down my experiences and my witness would help me get beyond the Keller cult. Sort of a therapeutic exercise. When I started to publish them in a blog, I did so after I saw that others were posting their stories in random places. I thought that my story might do two things. One is provide a witness for people who were there, so that they don't think they were alone in recognizing it was a cult and finding much to dislike - even hate - about NK, UK, US, and Kharabsheh. The second was as a warning to people who might think this is something that will benefit them in this life and the next. There are quite a few places where you can get the pro-Nuh perspective, from his own websites to groups on "Fasadbook", where the murids aren't even supposed to be participating. There was no place where people could hear a different perspective, that the place isn't some spiritual wonderland, that these are not nice and good people, let alone good leaders.

Several weeks ago, someone began to publish a blog with little sayings of NK, such as excerpts from the suhba, or things he said in the Latifiya lessons. More than anything else that has been put online about the cult, this is the blog that had people in Kharabsheh in an uproar. His own words were what provoked a response from them, and they were quite angry with that person, judging by some of the comments left on the blog imploring him to take it down and threatening to sue him. I even had it on good authority that Nuh himself had browsed the blog and this is a guy who never bothers with the internet. And that he was telephoning people demanding to know who it was. This is a man who pretends there is no criticism of him, that he is above needing any naseeha from the common people, that he does not make mistakes. This is a man who told us in the majlis that his parents "raised a perfect child."

Why are they scared of his teachings? Aren't his teachings meant to be public? This is a guy who teaches that Islam allows for women to be beaten by their husbands and we need to "just accept that." So shouldn't they be proud of what he teaches and tell the rest of us to "just accept it?" What is there to be ashamed of? That they reacted this way should show us that they do believe a few things that they deny. One, that they are ashamed of what he teaches, that they know it is not mainstream Islam and definitely not palatable to non-Muslims. Two, that what he says is slightly crazy and can be used against him. Three, that he does not have the level of knowledge or taqwa that he claims to have. Four, that there are levels of teachings that are meant to be secret - for the initiated and not "for everyone" like they claim. It reminds me more of Scientology than what Islam is supposed to be.

Did he say "send her home to her mother" about a woman who was watching religious shows on the shaytan box (TV)? Yes, he did. Why doesn't he want people to know about it? Just accept it. Is he ashamed of what he said? They openly disparage Muslims who watch television in the neighborhood, so what is the problem with that being known outside of it, if it is the right and good thing?

People who go to Jordan spend thousands of dollars for the privilege. Plane tickets, visas, rent, food, utilities, and all of that. Some people out there might be parents who are thinking they are sending their children to a place where they will become more pious, more knowledgable Muslims. You are paying for your kids to go there. Some of you are leaving a job or taking months off from a job to go there and benefit your lives. Don't you want to know before you step on the plane exactly what is taught in Jordan and if it is something that you want in your life?

All of these blogs, mine included, and the random posts here and there across the internet about the tariqa have gotten some attention. Mostly from the non-murids, some of whom are exploiting these stories for their own personal (and financial) gains, in my opinion. But I also know that there are people reading these things who are murids, who are in Kharabsheh or other places, I know that ex-murids read these things too. Most of what I know about the internet postings came from other people telling me, not from me finding it on my own.

People like Amy, Fazia and some others also wrote to me with their own stories and observations from their time in Jordan - even though I have left no means of contact on this blog. People in general simply want to share their story. And the motivations are pure - to protect others who might want to join the tariqa or go to Jordan. They are motivated by care and concern for other Muslims, to spare them the heartache they went through.

I think the question is, what now?

After months, even years, of people complaining about strange goings on in the tariqa, about the bad marriages and ugly divorces, about murids being sent home on planes completely out of their minds, finally they have sat up and responded. But instead of maybe admitting that they need naseeha themselves, or instead of saying "Yes the murids have a problem, we didn't know about it" (which was always the excuse in the years past - blaming the murids for the excesses of the shaykh and his two women), the response now is "I'm going to sue you unless you shut up."

So it is clear that they will reject the naseeha of the Muslims to rectify themselves. It is clear that they will make no move to tawbah. It is clear that they will do nothing to apologize to and make right the lives of women that were ruined in the divorces. It is clear they are never going to repay the monies that trusting people invested with them, and when they were asked to write contracts "Oh there is no contracts between Muslim brothers, do you think you can't trust us?"

I realized a long time ago that there is no rectifying Nuh, Besa and Hedaya. They are what and who they are and they will continue to do what they are doing as long as they can draw in unsuspecting Muslims with money. Only Allah can turn their hearts towards Him in repentance and help them change their deeds. I do believe that at this stage, Nuh is totally convinced that he is as perfect as he and his wife say that he is, that he is above reproach, that he does not sin, that he has become like the prophet (saws) in that way. That everything he says is wise and true, that everything he utters makes sense. He is a man who is completely out of touch with the real world. His wife and her friend have their eyes opened. They know exactly what the score is, but why they do this, I don't know. Love of money and power can be intoxicating once you have had a taste of it. It must be hard to let go of that, to feel the shame of knowing you have ruined people. It's easier to ignore those tuggings of conscience and continue on, surrounding yourself with yes men and yes women who tell you that everything you do is precious and wonderful and godly and right.

Those aren't your true friends, Hedaya and Besa and Nuh. Your true friends were the ones who tried to warn you, who you had ruined, whose reputations you trashed. Yes, they said things that were hard for you to hear, but they were your friends, because they wanted good for you, they wanted to see you correct your mistakes and continue on the path of guidance. And you know this and that is why you continue to slander them and even now making bayan against one of them.

I do think that they all sincerely believe in Islam, so I wonder if it pains them at night knowing they have driven people out of Islam, and that some of the murids have become Shia and Imaili after having been with them. (I don't think there is anything wrong with being Shia or Ismaili, but they DO think it is a MAJOR misguidance, that is why I say that).

But I don't think that they really believe that what they are doing is right, and that is why they have driven out their good murids who challenged them and questioned them. That is why they ignore the call to public mubahela from an esteemed shaykh. That is why they remain silent on their khalifa quitting them. Nuh Keller doesn't operate in public, for as many websites, businesses, blogs, and online academies that operate in his name and disseminate his version of Islam.

By Allah, Nuh, Besa, Hedaya, Ashraf, and your people - the inner circle, the ablahs, the sidis - you should repent to Allah today, because you are not promised tomorrow. You are not above me as a Muslim that you do not deserve to hear sincere naseeha. Your mistake has been in thinking that you are better than all else. You are not perfect, and you are not of such high station that you can't be brought down by your own hands. The grandshaykh of the tariq sits up in Damascus and makes khidma to those who are lower in station than he is. He asks them for their duas for his sake -- he asks US to pray for HIM. He does not hold himself above others. Look to shaykh Shukri for your guidance in this tariq, and if you can't do it, then be honest to yourself because Allah will be honest with you and leave the tariqa life to those who can handle it.

Give back the money to those who invested with you and wanted to close their investments out. Sell the properties if you have to do it, but those people, by Allah, those people have a right over you. Even in your own naseeha for living in Jordan, you tell people to make contracts between themselves when lending money. So you should do the same. But even without the paper, you know who invested what and how much in what venture. And when those people need their money back you should return it without delay. You have on your hands the financial ruin of several families and individuals. You have to answer for this on the day of judgment! Rectify it now, make tawbah. Don't go before Allah with this on your tablets! I am imploring you to do the right thing, before you stand in front of Allah as they testify against you for usurping their rights and taking money from their children.

Ask Allah to forgive you for the things you told people and the games you played that caused them to lose their senses. One of those people was a mother and you knew she wasn't well, and yet you led her down a path that almost caused the destruction of her body, her mind, and her spirit. You encouraged her in ever more extreme spiritual and life ventures, and then blamed her family for it when she fell apart. How unfair you were to those children.

Ask forgiveness from the women you slandered, who you said were dangerously close to leaving the deen, who you said were crazy and bad Muslimahs, because they had been divorced by one of your murids. You know that you made life extremely difficult for many of these women, since your murids, your followers who entrusted their spiritual life to you, have slandered these women outside of Jordan in their own hometowns. How can you? How can you accept such a magnificent trust from people and use it to send them into major sins? By Allah, Besa, Hedaya, and Nuh - I believe you will bear some responsibility for the sins of those who were slandering and talebearing the divorcees of your tariq, for they never would have run around calling those women crazy and bad Muslims if you hadn't told them so. Turn to Him now because tomorrow may be too late, yes even for you Nuh Keller and even for you Besa Krasniqi and even for you Hedaya Hartford. Not even YOU are promised tomorrow. All you have is TODAY to make it right with the Muslims and more important, with Allah. And if you have made the mistake of thinking you are perfect and above human faults and sins, then make tawbah again for this reeks of shirk.

You have the power and know you have it over your murids. Do what is right by Islam and Allah and tell your murids to pay for the support of the children they had with their ex-wives. Stop encouraging them to skip out of their responsibilities. That you were angrier over that blog with some of Nuh's speeches on it than the woman who was writing blogs about how her husband refuses to pay her a dime at YOUR orders, shows me how little you care for children. You will take from those children's mouths as a punishment to that woman and all those women for being divorced and not being "good murids." You were angrier on your own behalf than you were on behalf of those innocent souls. Are you honestly okay with being known as the tariqa of bad marriages, bad divorces, and deadbeat fathers? More importantly, do you think Allah is okay with it? Because we know the other shadhilis aren't!

The people that you forced to divorce - beg their forgiveness. You ruined them for no good reason, and you KNEW that they did not want a divorce. You told them and many of us that if we did not want to obey what you were telling us to do, we were disobeying Allah because all of these things, from divorcing to not supporting children, all of it came from "the shaykh's istikhara." So Allah told him and if we don't do it it is as if we are disobeying Allah Himself! Why doesn't Allah tell us if he really wants us to divorce or not support our children? Are you now the intercessors, the intermediaries, the priests? Stop with these things that are flirting with shirk. You are not the voice of Allah on this earth!!!

Beg forgiveness from the men whose professional reputations you have harmed. That family - you know who it is, the one you said was driven by a giant ego - beg his forgiveness before you are begging for his on the day of judgment. You ruined him for the sake of your own desires, and then tried to cloak it in the words of asceticism. All of the men that you did this to, you should feel shame in front of, just for the sake of their children.

Don't think that nothing you have done and are doing will catch up with you! Don't think that you can outstrip the justice and judgment of Allah!

Every child you have hit, every child you have slandered (even children, Besa, are not safe from your tongue, mashallah!), every mother you reduced to tears from your tongue lashings about something you have no experience with (parenting), the child who claimed she was molested by a man YOU endorsed after you forced that mother's group to stop teaching children how to protect themselves - beg their forgiveness, make tawbah to Allah on them. The older children who tell us, the adults that they trust, that they can't wait to leave you and they hate the life you have forced upon them, the 11 year old girls in niqab, ask them to forgive you because you are planting the seeds of hatred for Islam and tasawuf in their hearts.

I am telling you, enough is enough. Now is the time for you to do what is right. Make tawbah to Allah today and put an immediate end to the things you are doing. If it means withdrawing from giving bayah, if it means closing the zawiya and sunnipath and rayhan and sending people home, then do it. I believe you are sincerely believers in Islam, and sometimes we are asked to do the hardest things in our dunya to save our akhira. EVEN YOU.

And I am relieved of my duty and responsibility towards you as a Muslim. You have received my naseeha and I am free from warning you away from your sins.