What Do I Do If I Find Out My Favorite Preacher Is Corrupt? 5 Stages of Grief

It is very traumatic to find out that the person you’ve been listening to for years has changed or is now expressing increasingly deviant views.

If you recognize this deviance, consider yourself one of the fortunate ones. Most of the fans of the person won’t even understand the problem because their entire source for learning Islam is the preacher himself. So these fans don’t even have an objective measuring stick needed to know what is or isn’t corruption. Their understanding of Islam completely depends on whatever the celebrity teaches. If he changes, they change.

I have gone through this trauma myself. People that I thought were upright scholars of deen that I loved and respected turned out to be unabashed sell outs. It wasn’t one or two “off the cuff” remarks that made me realize this, but an extended pattern of behavior, associations, and private correspondence. When I talked with the preachers in question about these issues, rather than assuage the worry, they compounded it by doubling down, excusing their behavior, making ugly accusations against me, accusing me of disloyalty, etc.

What I have seen is that when fans of celebrity compassionate imams find out about corruption and deviance, they go through the 5 stages of grief.

Stage 1: Denial

The first thought is, “This is nothing.” The fans don’t want to hear anything bad about the preacher. So they ignore all the evidence and try to shield themselves from seeing anything incriminating so that they can maintain the pristine image of their beloved preacher. Sadly, many do not leave this stage, no matter how much evidence there is.

Stage 2: Anger

In this stage, the fan lashes out at anyone pointing out the corruption/deviance. It is very sad to see these individuals because you can hear it in their voice how tortured they are. They view the celebrity as a family member. Sometimes they love the preacher more than their own family members. But they also are confused and can sense that something is not right. This contradiction causes mental anguish and they release this frustration by lashing out at others and defending the preacher at all costs.

Stage 3: Bargaining

Eventually the fans cannot deny that there is something off with the preacher. By now, multiple independent sources have brought up the same problems and the preacher himself has done nothing to satisfactorily address the issues, much less resolve them. Sometimes he might even double down. The fans start to bargain with themselves: “Well, there has to be an explanation. It must have been out of context, it was an innocent slip,” etc. They tell themselves, “Ok, so maybe he did make a mistake. But so what? No one’s perfect!” They bargain with themselves, “I’ll just take the good and leave the bad. No problem.”

Stage 4: Depression

This stage hits like a ton of bricks. The previous stages of coping could not stop the inevitable realization. Now they have reached full-on grief and it can be very ugly. For some, their Islam is threatened. They have so closely associated Islam with this preacher that they transfer feelings of betrayal to Islam itself or ulama and scholarship as a whole. Some fans, in their grief, make dramatic pronouncements like: “I will NEVER listen to another scholar again!” This stage can last for weeks or months.

Stage 5: Acceptance

If Allah wills, the now ex-fans reach a stage of maturity. They now understand that not every preacher today is trustworthy, to say the least, and some of them may have the external trappings of traditional Islam when in reality, they are nothing more than faux-traditionalist wolves. They have moved past blind fandom and start to distinguish between the feel-good fluff version of Islam taught by compassionate imams from the kind of Islam taught by traditional scholars for centuries. They may have scars, but the healing process is well underway.

An excellent example comes from the Sahabi Salman al-Farsi. He spent his early adulthood leaving the religion of fire-worship to become Christian. He would find a Christian scholar to study with, learn all that he could until the scholar would die and then he would move to study with the next scholar. In some cases, he found out that one of the Christian scholars he was studying with was corrupt, literally stealing from people. He didn’t give up or say, “Well, we can only follow the dead!” He moved on and sought the truth. Eventually that led him to RasulAllah ﷺ and he became one of the greatest Companions, may Allah be pleased with them all.

Be like Salman. If one preacher burns you, there are many righteous scholars in our day and age who stick to the truth and don’t sell out. Seek them out and Allah will guide you to Him bi idhnillah.

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10 COMMENTS

  1. I guess this is about the recent Yasir Qadhi fiasco. Unfortunately one of the pressing matters going into Western academia is how it is entirely designed to favor secular institutions and by default is set on offensive to undermine other beliefs.

    Looks like Yasir Qadhi stay there has created cracks in his beliefs and if not addressed he is on the path where one day he will question the existence of Jinn, Angels, and the episode of Prophet SAW flying on a “winged creature”.

    Because are those things even possible? Reasonable? Logical? Eventually questioning the existence of Allah SWT.

    Yet, people like Yasir Qadhi should ponder and think where is the logic, reason, as to why and how there is a giant rock suspended in space on which millions of different life exist and for no reason what so ever?

    When this open miracle, right before their eyes is addressed, then all reason, logic, and purpose becomes irrelevant to Western secularist.

    They respond: It just is (its a miracle).

    Then they insist that it doesnt have to make sense. It doesn’t have to have a reason. There is no logic or purose behind any of it. In fact even suggesting there has to be logic, reason, purpose behind it all is irrational. Secular mental and reason gymnastics.

    If an entire universe can come out of nothing for no reason or purpose, and boiling rocks transformed into dinosaurs for no reason or logic, then there can exist a wall under which Gag m Magog lives that we cant see.

    It is a scientific miracle.

    • This is the manhaj of the Mu’tazila – one of the main groups studied in western academia, besides Shiism and Sufism (both are (neo)Platonic). Take that path and you’ll go progressing down the rabbit hole, until you end up in atheism. We have a figure like this in Europe, a Palestinian named Dr. Adnan Ibrahim. Many of his followers have become atheist. This is why the ulamaa didn’t like ilm-ul-kalam and warned against it. Oddly enough (or not so oddly) all three deviant groups mentioned above have very high apostasy rates.

      • LMAO, you don’t know shit about ilm al kalaam. Read the quran a bit and you’ll see that there are arguments for Allah swt’s existence. Ahlul sunnah used ilm al kalaam against both Greeks and mu3tazila and they vanished.

      • No need to resort to profanity, you have a IQ of 148. Many scholars warned against it, not in the least Abu Hamid Al-Ghazali in his last work: الجام العوام عن علم الكلام

        Ilm ul kalam means speculative theology not “arguments”.

        Greeks vanished?

        The Mu’tazila did indeed, but seem to be making somewhat of a comeback (at least in part) with western support.

    • VERY problematic to use scientific rationalism to understand everything. It’s absurd even by the standards of science as science is limited to SENSES. Jinns, Miracles, Buraq, end times prophecies etc are completely beyond the scope of science.

  2. And why not?
    So that he will have strength and energy to give Yasir Qadhi, Omar Suleiman, Hamza Yussuf et al sleepless nights.

  3. Assalamu alaikum warahmatullahi wa barakatuh

    This is a private message to sister Umm Khalid and Daniel,

    Jazakumullahukhayra for the work that you are doing. May Allah increase you both in beneficial knowledge and grant you steadfastness upon he truth always. Aameen.

    I saw something that I wanted to address with you both. It relates to Umm Khalid appearing on video recently. Whilst the the topic discussed by you both and the advice given were invaluable, it is perhaps better for Umm Khalid not to appear on video like that and instead talk whilst not being seen on camera.

    Another thing that I wanted to address is the interaction between you both, and sometimes the joking between you, that is perhaps to be avoided when giving a public talk that both men and women will be watching; basically do conduct the sessions in a more serious manner.

    Please forgive me for not advising you in a better way.

    May Allah reward you both. Aameen.

    Sister, UK

  4. Daniel,

    There are two particular well-established Shadhili Sufi “shaykhs” who have been outed as frauds, all of this coming from their own long-term murids/muqaddams (followers/deputies).

    This American Fake Sufi is still active. It would be good if you could spread awareness about this person as he is still very popular.

    docdro.id/J5nDLtR

    And another document on a Moroccan shaykh from another long term murid. Many have left the shaykh, some have left Islam already.

    docdro.id/Q7CrsRb

    I tried to get more people to talk about this but many won’t despite the evidence. I am glad you have the fortitude to speak up when it counts and not be silent.

    If someone wants to read more about dealing with false sufis, read my article here

    Making Sense of the False Sufi Shaykh
    https://muslimology.wordpress.com/2020/03/01/making-sense-of-the-false-sufi-shaykh/

    di.

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