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Welcome to the Becoming the Alpha Muslim podcast. We provide no-bs advice on self-improvement, masculinity, and men's issues for Muslim men. Check out for articles and additional resources.

Nov 8, 2016

My guest today is Dr. Shadee Elmasry

Dr. Shadee Elmasry was born and raised in New Jersey.

He began studying the traditional sciences rigorously at age eighteen after a summer in Fes, Morocco.

Since then he has studied all over the world including Hadramawt (Yemen), Mecca and Madina (Saudi Arabia), London (UK), Cairo (Egypt) and New Jersey (U.S.) under several luminaries.

He received a PhD in Islamic Studies from the University of London, School of Oriental and African Studies.

He is currently the Scholar in Residence and Director of Education and Community Affairs at the New Brunswick Islamic Center in New Jersey.

He is also the founder and head of Safina Society - an institution dedicated to the cause of traditional Islamic education in the West.

You can follow Dr. Shadee on Twitter and Facebook.

Time-stamped show notes:

03:20 Why has Islamic Aqidah (Creed) become a bad word among Muslims in the West? 

07:40 The three-part foundation to understanding Islam

  • Cosmology - what do we believe exists?
  • Epistemology - what are our sources of truth?
  • Methodology - how do we interpret these sources?


12:33 Cosmology is where believers split with atheists.

13:45 Epistemology is where mainstream Muslims (Sunni Muslims in general) split from the deviant sects in Islam and all other religions. 

16:55 Methodology is where mainstream Muslims will differ in their interpretations of Islam. Some interpretations fall within the scope of correct methodology while others do not.

23:43 What happens when someone who claims to be Muslim denies one of the axiomatic tenets of Islam? Those things that are necessarily known as part of the faith. (Arabic - ma'lum min ad-din bi 'dh-dharurah) 

24:45 Dr. Shadee goes off on Big Dawah. the Dawah establishment. (I've seen this term used formally once before; I think we should make it stick.)

27:30 Dawah is a failed enterprise if it's not grounded in knowledge.

28:35 I comment on how Dr. Shadee's strategy of sticking to the masjid and using the internet and social media to spread knowledge is the safest bet.

31:47 Dr. Shadee gives the example of Sheikh Murabit Al-Hajj, who lives in a Mauritanian desert camp while his students travel from all over the World to live and study with him.

32:56 I mention one of the fundamental maxims of Islamic law - avoidance of harm takes precedence over seeking benefit.

34:42 Dr. Shadee tries to stay as financially independent as possible because the guy who writes your check owns you.

37:05 Stand by your principles and people will respect you.

38:40 Dr. Shadee explains the result of politically correct preachers.

41:40 The fake unity of politically correct Islam, and the selfishness of Muslims who don't unequivocally make the Truth clear. 

45:10 How to know who to spend your time with: ask yourself "would I trade my Book of Deeds with that person on Judgement Day?"

47:10 In religion, the old way is the right way.

48:15 A personal development principle that's relevant to Dawah. Fall in love with the process, not the results.

49:40 The differences between Grassroots Dawah (in the masjid) and Big Dawah. 

50:20 Doing what's best for your audience - the Web Analytics and Bounce Rate Analogy.

51:30 Identifying the true metrics of success as opposed to vanity metrics.

53:40 Allah asks Ibrahim to call all the people of the World to Hajj and He will make sure the message is conveyed.

57:05 How should Muslims go about gaining the understanding of the fundamentals - cosmology, epistemology, methodology.

1:02:42 How should a beginner student approach studying Aqidah?

1:07:40 The importance of studying the history of the transmission of the Quran and Hadith - the need of the time.

1:13:07 Why are we being negative and sounding off these alarms?

1:16:30 The fasiq (sinful) Muslims of the past had a better Aqidah than some of the Muslim academics today.

1:18:00 The Muslim community can sometimes be more dangerous to a Muslim's faith than any non-Muslim.

1:19:45 My concern over my daughters reading and being brainwashed by deviant websites like Muslim Girl, Tempest, and Altmuslimah.

1:22:30 The importance of the student guarding his humility.

1:23:00 Why does Dr. Shadee refrain from speaking about politics? Is that on purpose?

1:24:12 If you want to do one great thing you have to say no to a hundred good things.

1:24:50 What sort of classes does Safina Society offer?

1:28:40 Segregation of the sexes is a feature of all traditional societies. The longest-surviving, most successful societies seperate genders and mix ages - modern Western society does the opposite.

1:30:24 How do people enroll in Safina Society classes? Do they have online classes?

1:32:50 To close out the show I ask Dr. Shadee to give Becoming the Alpha Muslim readers his #1 piece of advice.

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