1 Okay to start with...Micah you seem to be the kind of person that others love or hate. it really seems that it is difficult to be indifferent to you, how would you like to be regarded? Why do you think people feel that towards yourself?
As strange as it might seem, I feel genuinely indifferent to those who perceive me in a negative light. I have known Sunni's to regard me as a brother until one day they find out my affinity for the Ahlu-l-Bayt and their teachings. Then because I never desired fitnah and division between us I am accused of taqiyyah by such individuals. If you go to a fundamentalist Sunni masjid and simply wish to pray then you may follow along with them for the sake of not creating conflict with those who cannot see things any other way than their own. Yet if they find out that you pray according to a different method then they do (a method similarly followed by Maliki fiqh), will similarly accuse you of taqiyyah and will brand you an enemy. Is this your fault or theirs?
Shi`ah too are known for this. Perhaps one goes to a Du`a Kumayl on Thursday night and does not wish to get into debating politics related to matters such as Khomeini claiming permissible the molestation and rape of girls as young as two years old? Perhaps you simply want to focus on what you have in common and not what you consider to be the cultural brainwashing of your neighbor. Later, if your antipathy towards any religious figure who sanctions the oppression and domination of women is revealed to them, then you become viewed as a traitor to their perspective. Again, is this your fault or theirs?
Over the years I have had many friends and many enemies. There are many reasons for a sincere person to gain enemies, but one of the most common is that the individual is hated by those who give lip service to a matter that they are quite serious about. When the individual does not let such nominal, self-professed representatives of an idea, live down their hypocrisy – continuously highlighting their insincerity for the world to see – then they will be opposed.
Beyond this, the individual who calls for a break from any social substrata's mainstream will be just as opposed as one who calls for a break from the mainstream of the upper strata. Many of the people who I have come across in the Ummah fit into this category. They are either from the Ummah and thus see little problem with business as usual (no different than a Christian or any other variety of religionist who similarly cannot see beyond their cultural paradigm), or they have converted out of something of a yearning for adoption into a new, more seemingly authentic paradigm (that of the Ummah).
Desiring nothing more than love and acceptance from their new adopted mother, they realize that they must obey her commands and graft her views onto their own; often erasing the critical minded approach that lead them to Islaamic thought in the first place. As such, the enemies of the Ummah status quo become adopted as their enemies, even if such a person at one time seemed reasonable and even appealing to them. This has been the case with most – if not every single – revert who I have met, later to oppose me.
I am a firm believer that if someone is supposed to gravitate towards me then they will, and anything that will thwart this temporarily will only further strengthen their certitude once they finally come around. I have seen this many times over, where people who fit into the aforementioned categories will spread all sorts of lies and gossip. Many people hear about this and will investigate no further; taking this sort of backbiting as Gospel. In time however, many of them come across me and get a very different impression from things that I say or have written. They then talk with me and find out why the people of the aforementioned categories want to dissuade them from speaking with me at all. They know that if I am given the voice to speak for myself that it will convince more than it will repel.
2. You seem to have gone through some metamorphosis throughout your personal, spiritual and social activist life, I remember groups like the HL, the Nazirite movement, the Ahl-i Allah the Tali`yah and now the Fitryyah tariqah, do you see this evolution as an organic growth from form to form, from perspective to perspective or rather a cut and start anew type of thing, what differences and similarities do you see between all these groups in terms of ideology, potential, people involved in, philosophy, goals, etc. If you could give us some reasons for the transformations collapses, reemergence, that would be great.
I see them as a continuous refining for the sake of better attracting the intended allies. For instance, the Nazirite Movement (and its Metivta in the 90's), was an expression absolutely one and the same as the Hashlamah Project and these are indeed correlative to the Jamaa`atu-l-Fitrah. Nevertheless, each has emerged for a specific, yet related, purpose.
Art that I have produced from the 90's looks somewhat different than art that I express today. I could say that my art today is "better," but this is only because I have had more experience at refining my abilities at expression over these years. If pressed, I would say that my art today is more sensitive, while nevertheless retaining the technical precision of that in the 90's. Still, there are many people who live their whole lives and die without ever expressing, who would themselves admit that they are incapable for such expression. I say this to allude to an illustration that there are those who have such a drive to express, to create and to order what is in disarray.
Groups that I have worked within the framework of, or even helped give birth to are no different than drawings, ink work or paintings that I have produced over the years. Early on my desire was for technical precision, for realism, depicting a matter how it should be depicted. However, over time I came to develop a sort of whole sensitivity, where my body – not even simply my arm or media tool – channeled the creative energy of expressing the real. That is, I would begin with the idea and refine into what was specific. Other aspects of the work that needed no specific addressing were merely left undeveloped, albeit with development always in potentia of any such living work of art. That is, an artist could hone in on any such undeveloped aspect of the picture if such was desired or deemed necessary. Still, the main focus of the work would be on the subject matter of the work, with the rest touched on by almost Platonic expressions of Forms-as-Ideas burning through from this archetypal dimension onto the paper of the artist. Because the work contains even the undeveloped, visually undepicted as ideas in potentia, they can be expressed without deliberation, spontaneously, at will whenever called upon for clarification; because they are implied aspects of the work.
As for Hardline and the Ahl-i Allah, these are an entirely separate matter, as they were part of a continuum devised by Sean. He asked me to be a part of the founding of the Ahl-i Allah, but over time this fizzled out and I developed the Taliy`ah. Now the Taliy`ah had a lot of common ideas with the Ahl-i Allah, which was natural as I was so involved with both of them. The Taliy`ah itself, like Hardline, was intentionally dissolved. It was dissolved because it was clear that the approach taken had attracted too many unintended personalities, those more interested in spewing rhetoric without substance, and patting themselves on the back for being "revolutionaries," because they owned Khomeini's "Al-Kawthar," or decorated their mySpace with images of Nasrullaah.
All of this notwithstanding, I have met some of the closest brethren and sistren through the Taliy`ah and am thankful that everything occurred as it did. While a good half of the people who came and went with the Taliy`ah were unintentional, the other half have remained and strengthened their bonds of comradery. The link with the Jamaa`atu-l-Fitrah is that we, those who remained from the Taliy`ah and many new faces that we have met along the way, have intentionally stayed away from so much of the rhetoric that plagued the Taliy`ah, focusing instead on what we can do to create tangible change, not just pumping ourselves up with the sort of radical talk that merely treads water for the revolution. Similarly, seeing the inherent flaws of both Sunni and Shi`i mainstreams, we reject the status quo of either and seek only a return to pure Imaan, rather than sectarian bantering. 3. You seem to be on eyes of many an inspiring individual, where do you look for this inspiration, who are your role-models, sources, what do you aspire to and how do you deal with the possibility of being seen as a leader or a role-model...?
For many years I was at odds with the notion of being viewed as a leader. Naturally I did not want others to look to me to lead them, but instead to look towards that which guides me. Today I understand that being viewed as a leader is the nature of things. In order for even a handful of people to follow that which I follow, they must first be led to it. Those who make their way without direct guidance are almost none. Nearly all who convince themselves otherwise have deluded themselves. Furthermore, of those who I refused to assume such a leadership role to, the vast majority would come to chose others to lead them anyway; these being representatives of the status quo of various powerful social interests (both East and West). I have no objections to leading someone spiritually or philosophically, any more than I have a problem with leading my martial arts students. What is essential, however, is that any person assuming a role of leadership (in any aspect of life), be using that natural position to raise those whom they lead up to become leaders themselves.
3 In comparison with other prominent figures(ie Muttaqi) of most of the movements discussed in the previous questions (Ahl-i, HL, etc, etc) you were always and much more the visible face of the movement. Was this a premeditated decision, are you just more outspoken, and how did that exposure affect your life?"
To some extent yes, and to some extent it would still be imprudent (specifically for Sean's sake), for me to go into why this was. There is no question that Sean created the Ahl-i Allah and asked me to join him as Minister of Propaganda in 1998-1999. The reason for this "at first" is more for him to answer than for me. However, it seems to me that the reasons for this changed over the years some what.
By the time the Taliy`ah came about there was some tension between he and i. It was not major but i did feel as though i was doing EVERYTHING with the Ahl-i Allah. i do not believe that this was ever purposefully intended, i think it is just how things transpired. i decided to step away from the Ahl-i Allah, make my "own" group and see if the Ahl-i Allah still stood without me. i never claimed the Taliy`ah as a competing group, but said that the two could work in tandem. What ended up happening was the Ahl-i Allah disintegrated in a rather uneventful way, very shortly after this. When this happened Sean got on board with the Taliy`ah and the former hierarchy of the Ahl-i Allah seemed to graft onto the Taliy`ah by default.
4 "You seem to edificate yourself in the physical domain as well, I know that you've been practicing some classical internal martial arts and energetic Taoist practices Like Chi-kung, can you tell us something about it? styles, how long, accomplishments, teachers, etc...?"
Yes, i am trained in, lineaged and teach the three main internal styles, known by the term Sun, Lu-T'ang coined "Nei Jia" (Internal Family). These are T'aijiquan, the most famous, Xingyiquan, with historical Islaamic connections, and the only internal Martial Art employed on the battlefield, and Baguazhang, in many ways like T'aiji but employing ancient Daoist methods of training and meditation to formulate an effective art for fighting multiple opponents.
Besides these three main internal arts, i am currently studying two more well documented Internal systems that are more esoteric. i am, however, not an instructor in these. Beyond that, i am lineaged and teach Northern Style Chinese Kung-Fu through a lineage that has Daoist origins and maintains Daoist components to initiation, Bai Shi, that is otherwise Confucian in origins.
Besides these i regularly cross train in Muay Thai, Brazilian Jiujitsu, and Escrima.
5"You mention somewhere in one of your public profiles that after many years of a drug-free lifestyle you started smoking ganja. What motivated you to get into it? In your experience what benefits/uses do you see in it? Did those experiences changed your perception of some issues? what is your opinion on other potentially mind expanding substances?"
Well, i don't know if i ever said i "smoke" ganja. i have tried (past tense) smoking this plant and honestly i prefer to eat it. i do not find it particularly hard on my lungs, no more so than being around a campfire, but i have a very high tolerance to any type of hallucinogen. A few hits of most types of marijuana will not do anything to me at all. The first time i got marijuana to "work" i had to sit there and count hits. It took somewhere in the twenties before i actually got the "blasted off" effect many people talk about.
Because i have practiced meditation intensively since the late 1990's i have a lot of control. i can go to sleep awake and i can wake myself up in dreams. In meditation i can let go and experience dream-state, remain aware that i did it (not dreaming), but not allow this knowledge to snap me out of it. So when i use herbs for these purposes it is not a free floating experience. i use the herbs to do work.
By the time i actually did marijuana it had been well over a decade since i made the decision that i would use the herb if i came across it. i had determined that i would not seek it out, but when the time was right it would come to me. Indeed a close friend and student gave me some at first and we had a very focused time using it as a supplement.
Another student makes marijuana oil and creates nature bars that we have eaten and gotten far better results from. My suggestion would be that people boil marijuana in high quality oil and use it to cook with. If you do this you will have no health impact whatsoever on your lungs or sinuses and you will have much more effective marijuana.
With that said, if marijuana is highly concentrated then a hit or two is not going to hurt you at all (this goes for herbs like Salvia Divinorum as well for that matter). If one is young though then they probably don't have a lot of discipline. Young people should not play with marijunana. It is really more than they will be able to handle. Besides this, it is a very yin herb, a yin-shen herb, and one needs to be able to potentially counter balance that yin with yang through meditation, training or completmentary herbal supplementation. To that end, you should not experiment with this stuff on your own. If you have a teacher who will guide you then it can be effective. If you do not then you will likely just be lazy, go to work less and be less productive than you probably already are (which for most is not very productive).
6 "This is one is a bit a personal curiosity...what did happen around the time of the Vang 8 in terms of the creation of the HCC and all the problems that followed? Was most of the written stuff in there genuine or fabricated as many seem to defend? what about the copyright of the HL logos...purpose and logic behind???"
To be honest, i was immersed in Qabalistic and Daoist meditation for the entire year that this drama went down. i was working as a Security Supervision for Proctor and Gamble's vivisection facilities. I spent most of my time shut away in closets and dark rooms meditating. For all the talk from Vegan Straight Edge, Hardline, ALF and the like, there was never any trouble at the facilities. This was an eye opening experience for me, showing me that on one hand these huge corporations are so impenetrable by most that methods i had formerly believed could be used to bring them down or influence them to change actually were less realistically effective than i had imagined, and also that the attitute of these corporations towards the ALF (which they often joked about), was relaxed. Animal liberationists were regarded as minor parasites that could easily be treated and destroyed; a mere annoyance. This taught me that the problem was bigger than i had come to believe and could only be solved with a more comprehensive solution than anyone had been offering.
But one day the guys from Indy called me up there and told me about Vanguard 8. i really didn't care. i can't stress that enough. i was more interested in meditation and in Martial Arts. This was basically my life, working and meditation, strength training, and martial arts as well as extensive firearms training. All of this talk of Vanguard 8 was irrelevant to me. i felt, perhaps arrogantly, that i was so far above any of this that it was mildly amusing. Here were all these people talking about revolution and just complaining that the creator of their 30 person movement had decided to call them out on things. Were those documents were real or not? i presume you are referring to one document in particular which claimed to be from the early 1990s. The answer is yes, it is fairly old, from the "First Wave" of Hardline, and i have been shown originals of it that were very yellowed with age, first hand while helping Sean move his office from one room into another of the same building. He made the point of mentioning how long ago it was written and that it was not fabricated for Vanguard 8. In any event, i was not involved with Hardline when all of that went down, nor was i involved with Vanguard 8.
7 "Do you see Fitrryah as a condensation of all those past efforts? Is F. a tariqa without a sheikh and a lineage?"
The Jamaa`atu-l-Fitrah does indeed have a Shaykh, it is the Imaamu-l-Mahdi, it is `Iysaa-l-Maseeh, it is the Prophet Muhammad, it is the long list of prophets, sages and philosophers which emerged in all nations over the years. Islaam is not something like a martial art. It is not something where you have to be shown the physical procedure, practice over and over and have corrections made. You can just go to a masjid, line up and follow someone to make Salaah. You can read a book and figure it out in a week very easily. You can read the words of wisdom and feel their resonance in your heart. All you have to do is employ them then.
So if there is a man or woman who will teach you wisdom then YES listen to them, then YES follow them. But the reality is that if they are teaching wisdom then they will all be walking along the same path, or the paths that they are on will soon converge. Thus, to speak of following one is to follow all. If i have allies in Pennsylvania, in Brazil, in Illinois, in the UK, in Florida, in Texas, in California, in the Hijaz, or anywhere else, if it is decided that we meet in Mecca one day then we will all get their by different routes. But none of us would say that because we took slightly different routes to arrive that we were in fact differing. Our aim was the same.
So if a Shaykh guides you to the same goal that you hear of in the words of the prophets then know that you are on the same path as everyone following those prophets. The Shaykh's teachings should not differ. Know as well, that there is no obligation to take a Shaykh, to make bayah (which in Shi`i Islaam is even haraam), to pay taqleed or anything of the like. Our true leader, in this age, is the hidden Imaamu-l-Mahdi. He is accessible to those who can access him in the spiritual realm. If you can access him then why would you bother asking a question to someone else that has already been answered? If you cannot access him then you should learn how.