The world-renowned American Muslim lecturer, Nouman Ali Khan, has rejected claims made by a so-called “friend” that he had “inappropriate interactions with various women”.
On Friday morning, a Facebook status was posted by Omer Mozaffar – who claims to be a friend of NAK – which accused the prominent Quran lecturer of “inappropriate” behaviour with numerous females.
Whilst the post which went viral did not specify details or cite evidences of the allegations, the claimant stated that he acted as a “mediator” along with local scholars from Dallas to prevent NAK from continuing his alleged “abuse of authority”.
Mr Mozaffar’s post also claimed that NAK had “confessed” to some of the allegations before he breached an agreement to discontinue with public speaking and posting content on social media, and subsequently threatened the “mediators” with legal action if they publicised the issue.
As thousands of Muslims joined the social media debate about the controversy, many defended NAK due to the absence of any evidence of incriminating behaviour, while others criticised the celebrity speaker for abusing his authority with female students and followers.
In addition to Mr Mozaffar’s post, prominent Canadian speaker, Navaid Aziz, also repeated the accusations, stating that it had been “verified by multiple people, and some of them have even been confessed by him”. However, in the comments sections, Mr Aziz confirmed that the allegations were not concerning rape or sexual assault but “purely an abuse of power”.
Dr Yasir Qadhi of Al-Maghrib Institute posted a status which discussed the misplaced elevation of scholars by the masses, the abuse of power and authority by men of knowledge, and the issue of sinning and repenting. Whilst many assumed this status was indirectly addressing the NAK controversy, Dr Qadhi confirmed that it was a generic status.
NAK eventually responded on Facebook yesterday night by unequivocally rejecting the accusations as “lies”.
He posted the following lengthy response of his official page:
“I want to first thank those persons who have seen through the falseness of these allegations. Some individuals, unfortunately, have taken it upon themselves to pull matters out of my personal life, take them out of context, manipulate the facts and present a narrative using these distortions to fulfill their own agenda. It left a lot to the imagination so let me first state that I testify without hesitation or doubt that I have never used my public platform as a means to take advantage of anyone.
They also use the generic words ‘inappropriate interactions’ leading the imagination of a reader down the worst possible path. This itself is a grievous sin. The word used for slander is (ramy) in the Qur’an. It literally means to cast a stone. The crime isn’t that you come outright explicitly and say against someone that they’ve committed inappropriate acts. The crime is that you cast something in that direction and let the ripples carry their effect. This is what these people have done.
I have been speaking about the Book of Allah for nearly 20 years for one single motivation; I love this book and I love sharing what I learn about it. I have interacted with hundreds of thousands of individuals, men and women, young and old, around the world in person and done so with dignity. I would hope and pray that the countless people I did interact with in person of either gender will testify to the way I conducted myself with them, hoping for nothing more but a chance to earn their prayers. That’s where I have the most meaningful exchanges with the community. That is when people share their concerns and questions with me and there isn’t anything inappropriate about it. I’m sure the countless people that have been part of these exchanges will testify to that fact. I’d like to add that I’ve had female students at my own campus for years and no student ever has or ever will claim that I’ve been inappropriate in the least bit.
We all have things we have to repent for. I’m not a counsellor and I’ve never claimed to be. I’m not an Imam and I’ve never claimed to be. I’m an avid and passionate student, teacher and lecturer with a focus on Allah’s book. I find it demeaning to have to speak about my personal life. I feel at some level though I don’t have a choice. I have been divorced for nearly two years. The circumstances of my divorce are one of the most difficult and painful experiences of my life. Many rumours surrounded that event and I chose to remain silent to protect my children more than anyone else. After the passage of some time I did in fact pursue remarriage with the help of my family. Along that process I communicated with a few prospects with my family’s knowledge and consent and that has been used, distorted and manipulated way out of proportion and turned into something it isn’t. All such communications took place between consenting adults and there was nothing malicious or predatory about them. I fail to see how such interaction can render anyone a victim. These communications took place for a dignified purpose. Yet these are the communications that are being alleged as predatory.
But when some individuals try to make it sound like one has to repent before Allah in a way that satisfies their delusional sense of self-righteousness, there’s a problem. Your taubah, for anything you may have done is between you and your Maker. As many in the community have said, if my actions are in fact a threat to the community, show evidence of that.
Lies are best told with a grain of truth. The people who accused me are not interested in clarification nor in rectifying the matter. They came to me with their minds made up. Their allegations as they have now themselves outlined, I explicitly reject and deny. I have been blackmailed, threatened, harassed and warned that if I was to give a single sermon, talk about a single ayah, post a single new video about the Qur’an or Islam, that they will go on a campaign to ensure I am painted as some sort of threat to the Muslim community.
My mission and sacrifice for two decades has been to help spread a better understanding of the Qur’an. With these threats, I was terrified at first that those years of service will be brought to ruin even if later these claims are proven false. Everyone’s attention will be on this non-sense and not the work and contribution that actually matters.
I deliberately avoided any public engagement for months thought their demands were that it stay the case for years. But recently evidence was discovered, only and only by the grace of Allah, that this was all part of a scheme. My employees discovered loads of explicit illegal activity that some of these individuals were involved in knowingly and others were just along for the ride at the expense of me and my company. I decided to get legal help and protect my family, my employees, myself, and my work from them. I found evidence of explicit lying and deliberate exaggerations.
Some of these individuals have used the word ‘verified’ to give credibility to their claims. Just because a number of people are ‘verifying’ something, doesn’t make it true. If that was the case, the accusation against our mother Aisha (RA) was circling the entire city of Madina.
As for the ‘agreement’ that these individuals speak of that I’m no longer abiding by, perhaps I can offer some context. I tried to convince this group to allow for senior scholars and leaders from across the country to hear both sides and assist in civil fashion. They knew the presence of neutral parties would compromise their agenda so they threatened to not meet at all if anyone from the outside was allowed.
Deeply concerned that my whole life work will come to ruin, I was abiding by their demand to not speak in public or teach, I discovered that they continued to disparage me in the vilest of ways. While I was in Mecca for Umrah, they held public gatherings attempting to rip my character to shreds allowing me no opportunity to even defend myself. These people stand up for the rights of the community and want to protect the Ummah? Where is Islam in the way they are conducting themselves in this case? I even met members of the community that attended and were disgusted by these gatherings.
They furthermore explicitly lied in writing to heads of organisations saying that I’ve been banned from speaking at major conventions. I spoke to the heads of those conventions asking them if that was the case and their lies were laid bare. One of this accusing group admitted to me multiple times and even in the presence of others that he was blackmailed to take part in this witch hunt. That if he didn’t they’d accuse him of colluding with me in some way.
The individual who posted these claims against me posed himself as a mediator and unfortunately he was anything but. He claims I’ve known him for twenty years. I’ve spoken to him in friendly ways no more than a couple of dozen times in that entire span. We don’t live in the same city. I’m cordial with him and until this disappointing turn of events, I know little to nothing about his family and he knows virtually nothing about mine. To claim he’s my friend of 20 years to insinuate that he knows my personal life is really far from the truth. A mediator isn’t supposed to be an instigator. Unfortunately in this post, I see nothing more than an attempt to seek the limelight through scandal. There have been sincere efforts by elders in the community and neutral parties to resolve these claims in a dignified fashion and his irresponsible and grossly inaccurate post did nothing more than to try and derail that process.
I appreciate the outpouring of support. You cannot imagine the pain and humiliation this has caused me and my family. I have sons and daughters, I have sisters and nieces. This public stunt could potentially traumatize them for the rest of their lives. Produce witnesses of explicit haram that one has committed and if not, then
فأولآءك عند الله هم الكاذبون
they, as far as Allah is concerned, are the liars.
Dignity is in the hands of Allah. I cannot control what anyone will think of me. The noblest people of the past had to face some of the worst humiliations imaginable. My mistakes, and Allah knows them just as He knows yours, I make taubah for as I have been.
To those that have chosen to try to tear my character to shreds before the eyes of millions, I suppose I’ll be thanking you on judgment day for taking the burden of my sins from me. What you have done is far worse in our religion than anything you could possibly have accused me of.
To my audience, I simply say this. I am a public figure and I have a personal life. I am imperfect. Like anyone, my personal life and its struggles are mine to bear. I don’t post daily updates of what I do with my kids or what dua my mom made for me or where I prayed fajr. I don’t need to prove that I’m a great dad or son or anything else. That is my personal life. I’ve never made it the stuff of social media except if I wanted to share some insight. My public life has to do with teaching Allah’s book. Sharing what inspires me, I will continue to do that. My solemn promise to you is that whether online or at some location that you might find me speaking, I will carry myself with the same dignity I always have and I will do my best to live these few breaths I have left on this earth trying to serve the book of Allah in a way that He may find pleasing.
I know why I do this and I know why Allah put a love in the hearts of people for my work. It’s not because I’m a great speaker or scholar (I’m not a scholar and have never claimed to be), but it’s always been one thing; sincerity. If I’ve lost that I’ve lost everything. I’m going to continue to be who I am and will no longer entertain these claims and allegations because I have more important things to do with my life. I’m done being bullied and harassed.
Lastly to Allah, I declare that I am your imperfect slave who seeks forgiveness for sins known and unknown to myself and others. I know that You have honoured me in this life in great part because of the duas of my parents, those that I have sincerely tried to do good towards and benefit, my students and audience, and because I have tried to serve Your book. Your promise is that: “You will not find a refuge besides It (the book).” So I turn to You as your beaten, humbled slave and beg You. Allow me to serve Your book and make that service a source of protection for me and any who come to it with genuine hearts. If I have Your protection Ya Rabb, I need nothing else.
I have not taken the sacred platform to teach the Qur’an and used it for lowly aims. Allah knows who I am and I am grateful to Him and to you for your duas and support in this difficult time. I don’t wish this kind of onslaught on anyone, not even against those that are responsible for it against me.
I would rather not speak about this again as it is a distraction from Allah’s book that is much more worthy of being spoken about.”
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