Zaytuna College Blog

Only Human: Can We Follow a Fatwa From the Heart?

Posted by Abdullah bin Hamid Ali on Aug 9, 2016 9:48:58 PM

One of the many perks that come with the discovery by locals in Muslim territories that you are a Western Muslim is that they often desire to help you explore and appreciate their culture. On one particular occasion, as I sat enjoying the company of a number of my Moroccan brethren in the courtyard of the American Language Institute of Fez, a peer invited me to attend a session of prophetic invocation and mention of the divine name at one of the local Sufi lodges he frequented. Before I could accept the invitation another Moroccan interjected, “Abdullah! Ask him if he performs his daily prayers!” Somewhat embarrassed for the man, I responded to the questioner, “It’s not my place to probe his faith and practice.” To this, my gracious host retorted, “That’s right! All that matters is a person’s intention.” I, suddenly feeling obligated to offer my religious understanding on the matter, replied, “No! Acts and good works do matter to Allah!”

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Topics: Islamic Jurisprudence, Muslim, Islam

“White” and “Black” Are Not the Only Options for Social Integration

Posted by Abdullah bin Hamid Ali on Aug 9, 2016 4:15:12 PM

Prior to the tragic events of 9/11, with a few exceptions, a common concern among Muslim mosque-goers in the US was the question of whether or not it was lawful to live in America. For many, the questions of whether or not it was permissible to call oneself ‘American’ and/or participate in elections and run for office were viewed as treasonous to the Islamic teachings. Two views were common. One contingent felt that since America was not a Muslim country and its military was actively involved in incursions into the Muslim world, these facts made being Muslim and American two irreconcilable issues. The second contingent felt that since blacks were not included in the “We” of “We the People” or the “men” of “All men are created equal” when America first formed, in addition to historical social alienation suffered at the hands of whites and the American government, there was no way to reconcile Muslimness with American identity. The former rationalization was popular among recent immigrants to America, while the latter view was popular among black-American converts.

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Topics: Islamic Jurisprudence, Islam, Islamophobia, Race, Justice, muslims in america, 9/11, social integration

Jurisprudential Principles

Posted by Abdullah bin Hamid Ali on Dec 15, 2015 12:01:39 AM

The semester started and by the end of the first week we still had not met for the first lesson in Islamic Jurisprudential Principles.  As a student I recall the excitement involved with coming back to school, but in this case the excitement was all mine as a teacher. The reason is that it was this semester that I would decide to adopt all-Arabic instruction for at least one of my courses at Zaytuna College. The fact that my students were juniors meant to me that it was now time to test how useful nearly 4 years of the study of Arabic alongside other courses would pay off. It would be a real test, not only for me as a teacher and for my students. It would also be a big test for the College overall as a way of knowing just how effective our curriculum and pedagogy have been.

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Topics: Sharia, Islamic Jurisprudence, Arabic, jurisprudential principles in islam

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