This month the Patheos Muslim Channel bloggers are expressing their take on the hot takes –a sort of rapid action response to a current event, news piece, political debate or issues of the moment affecting Muslims or other issues that are close to their hearts.
My take on the hot takes is straightforward.
I love it. I wish I could publish a post every day!
There are plenty of news items that I can respond to. This past year has been an incredible year of twists and turns, high drama in the White House and tweets that make you scratch your head. Donald Trump may have been a disappointment to the Democrats, most Muslims and the Non white minorities, but the fact is that he provides plenty of ‘hot take’ moments for the news media and the bloggers.
I have a feeling once his presidency is over, many in the news media will go through withdrawals. Let’s face it the commercial news media loves controversy and drama, and President Trump provides this on a daily basis (or hourly basis, as some would argue). Everyday there is a tweet or an action that stirs strong reactions from both sides. His supporters are as staunchly in his corner as are his opponents on the other corner. This creates a perfect situation for the commercial news media, which thrives on such environment.
There have not been very many ‘slow news days’ since President Trump took office- or for that matter since he announced his presidential election campaign.
No, this post is not about bashing President Trump. Just saying that there have been hot takes on a regular basis since he gained prominence in politics.
But the truth is that he has made Muslims Americans unite like never before. Every day there is a news item that triggers a response- be it “Islam hates us”, “I saw Muslims celebrating 9/11”, Muslim travel ban (1.0, 2.0 or 3.0 versions), his re-tweeting of the videos by the far right wing British Islamophobes, his quick condemnation of any terror attack anywhere in the world if committed by a person with a Muslim name (while ‘gauging the situation first’ when the culprits are Non Muslims, or white supremacists), or his open feud with the Muslim British mayor. I wrote a piece on his recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel last week.
Response to hot takes is a religious duty
Being involved in the current affairs is not only a need of the current times but it is an Islamic duty. Yeah, I know ‘duty’ is a strong word, but it is true. At each Friday sermon (Khutba), the imam (khateeb) is supposed to have two components: one that is more “religious”- matters of importance from theological , jurisprudence (fiqh) or Islamic history’s perspective. The second half is supposed to be related to the current affairs that affect Muslims directly or indirectly.
The rationale is pretty simple. We cannot practice our religion in a bubble, living in our own cocoons. Islam is way more than just praying 5 times a day, fasting and giving Zakat (charity). Islam is a way of life. And life cannot happen in our own silos, removed from our environment. A Muslim is an integral part of the society they live in, and anything that affects the society is their issue.
The following Hadith of Prophet Muhammad shows that we should take care of all creations of God Almighty, including the planet earth.
Those who are kind and considerate to Allah’s creatures, Allah bestows His kindness and affection on them. Show kindness to the creatures on the earth so that Allah may be kind to you.
Therefore protecting the environment is our religious duty. Anything that we feel endangers it is a hot take.
Fighting for justice for all- whites, blacks, people of all ethnicities, beliefs and faith is our religious duty and blogging on the injustice is a hot take.
O you who believe! stand out firmly for justice, as witnesses to Allah, though it may be against yourselves, or your parents, or your kin (relatives), and whether it be (against) rich or poor: for Allah can best protect both… The Quran 4:35
The Muslim ban is a hot take.
Acts of hate crimes against Muslims, Jews and any other community are hot takes.
Attempts to pass anti-immigrant bills are hot takes.
Most, if not all, presidential tweets are hot takes.
Roy Moore’s stunning defeat in Alabama is a hot take. It shows that the allegations of sexual misconduct, that Muslims do and should care about, matter. (Of course there were other factors, including Doug Jones’ own appeal to the voters). May be it is a message to president Trump that the country had enough with the drama and wants to move on in another direction.
So why I am not writing more posts on hot takes?
At the outset I stated I wish I could write daily. The reason I don’t, or can’t is simple. My work and other interfaith and author work come in the way. That sounds like a lame excuse but that is very true. But it remains my dream to be able to post daily on the hot takes.
The hot take does require that you are on top of the news and that you have time to think it through and perhaps do some more research- things that require more dedicated time.
Until then, I am going to settle with twice weekly schedule.
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