Should Muslims Follow Andrew Tate? | Dr. Safiyyah Ally
Andrew Tate is now a Muslim.
The news has set Muslim social media on fire.
Tate is the biggest influencer of all time. He’s wildly popular on social media. And he’s had a huge young male Muslim following for years now.
The men who follow him are attracted to his confidence, money and power. They say he pushes back against feminist ideas that make them feel attacked simply for being men. Tate embodies the alpha male. He shows them how to be a man, and in the process, he makes them feel strong, validated and powerful.
But while many young Muslim men look up to him as their role model, he lives his life in contradistinction to everything that’s Islamic.
To begin with, he says horrible things about women. He talks about how he’d violently assault a woman who accuses him of cheating. He says women must bear responsibility for being raped. He brags about being able to break a woman’s jaw with a slap. He claims that younger women are better catches because they’ve been through fewer men. And he says women are the financial and physical property of men.
Beyond his views about women, Tate has earned millions in an online business that he admits was a scam. The business used female webcam models to manipulate men to part with their money. Tate and his brother took nearly 40% of the profits, and they used that to start a strip club.
This summer he was banned from social media platforms for fear he’d use them to solicit and groom young women.
He has a get rich pyramid scheme called Hustler University, and Muslims are signing up in droves.
All this adds up to someone who isn’t a good person to put it lightly. Andrew Tate isn’t calling people to what is wholesome and ethical and moral. He’s calling people towards violence, conceit, materialism and hedonism. Every Muslim should stand against that.
The big question is, what does his conversion mean for Muslims? Should we celebrate, or is this cause for concern?
Anyone can outwardly become a Muslim. It’s a straightforward process. You profess your belief in Allah and the Messenger, and that’s it. Someone can commit terrible evils but still identify as Muslim.
And anyone can make a declaration without being sincere. Who’d be able to tell, if they can’t see into the person’s inner self? In the Quran, there are many verses condemning hypocrites. God in the Quran repeatedly warns the Prophet Muhammad that there are hypocrites in his community of believers, and he should be careful about trusting them. So this was a huge problem in the time of the Prophet. And it means that the Prophet, and the Muslims around him, would have been wary of some people who were entering the fold of Islam. And we can be wary too. We don’t have to get overly excited every time someone says they’re a Muslim.
A lot of online commentators are saying we shouldn’t judge Andrew Tate, that he’s a new man now. And it’s true that there are Quranic verses and hadith which show that God forgives the sins a person accumulates before they convert.
There’s a verse in the Quran that says: “Say to those who disbelieve: if they desist, what has preceded them will be forgiven” (8:38).
And there’s a hadith. I can’t speak to the context, but the Prophet is reported to have said to Amr ibn al-Aas, when he became a Muslim, that Islam wipes away the sins that precede a conversion.
But there are 3 things to consider.
First, if those sins involve transgressions against the rights of others, scholars say you’re still accountable. If you wrong someone, you must make amends and seek forgiveness. As of this moment, Tate hasn’t even acknowledged he did wrong to anyone, much less tried to rectify his wrongs.
It is true that there were people in the time of the Prophet who did terrible things and became Muslim. Many became Muslims after they had killed Muslims in battle, but they were not punished for what they had done. And yet that doesn’t mean that everything was all hunky dory. When Wahshi, the assassin of the Prophet’s beloved uncle Hamza, became a Muslim, the Prophet accepted him as a Muslim. But he asked that Wahshi not sit in his presence, because it reminded him of the loss of his uncle. This means that the real hurt associated with these individuals couldn’t be forgotten easily, even if they became a Muslim and sincerely repented.
But the second point I want to make is that Tate’s videos aren’t in the past. They’re still present all over the Internet. And Tate has continued to post things after his conversion of Islam that are problematic. In fact, the very first post after his conversion was a hadith he quoted which aligns with his misogynistic thinking. So even if his past sins were forgiven, he still has to answer for his present ones.
My third point is that Tate’s reach is unparalleled. He’s using his platform, not for good, but to call people to evil. He’s negatively influencing impressionable young men to think and act on the basis that women are subservient to them. Real women are on the receiving end of the violence preached by Tate, and this leads to widespread social harm. For this reason, we can’t adopt a wait-and-see attitude towards him.
My advice to young men who follow Tate? Ask yourself, why? Why would someone attract you who has such extreme views, speaking such filth and behaving in such an openly immoral way? What does it say about you that you find him appealing?
Follow people who represent good and who lead you towards good. If you’re feeling lost or directionless and need a guide, look to people in our history and present time who are true models of what it means to be a man. Look to the Prophet Muhammad. He was strong and powerful and courageous, but he used the traditional male advantages that God had blessed him with to be of benefit and service to his family and the wider society. More than that, he was gentle and humble and loving with everyone he interacted with even if he could have gotten away with being the opposite. That is true masculinity in the Islamic tradition.