Racial, cultural, and social divides have been a disturbing reality in Muslim communities throughout the United States, despite the unique diversity of the American Muslim community. At the forefront of this divide are the two largest demographics of American Muslims today: indigenous African-Americans and immigrants. Since the immigration from Muslim lands began in the early 20th century, the complex, and often tense, history between the two sub-communities continues to be a barrier for second1 and third generation American Muslims trying to move the community forward in the 21st century. Though most may agree on the unity of the community as an ideal, putting it into practice requires an open, and sometimes uncomfortable, discussion.Read More
Take the case of seven Muslim women in Hijab in Southern California that were escorted out of a restaurant by police officers for supposedly over-staying the 45-minute limit in the eatery. The seven Muslim women are suing Urth Caffe in Laguna Beach because of this action since they felt targeted due to a number of them wearing the headscarf. Supposedly, the manager was expecting a busy evening and asked the group to leave despite the place having a number of empty tables and no observable mad rush for pizza was underway.Read More
I live in New York city, the borough of Manhattan to be precise.
My religion mandates that I pray during 5 separate windows of time every day. Those times are determined based off of a cyclical pattern of the sun.
I was once eating dinner at a restaurant in Times Square when one of the prayer times came in that had a uniquely short amount of time to be performed in given the time of year it was and how short the days were. I excused myself from dinner, letting my friends know I needed to pray, and did my best to find a quiet place where I could for a few moments in the busiest and loudest part of New York City recenter and reflect. I was lucky enough to find a somewhat empty place outside of the restaurant and so I started to pray there on the sidewalk. Immediately after I started a tour bus filled with people pulled up in front of me and emptied itself to my prostrating with M&M World behind me. As I stared at the ground more intently than I’ve ever before, I felt their stares on me and a growing discomfort inside of me.
In the aftermath of the Orlando murders many Muslims are adamant that they will not apologize for anything. This is a proper stance as our religion does not advocate collective guilt, nor collective punishment. We are informed in the Qur’an, “No bearer of burdens (a sinner) can bear the burdens of another.” No one needs say, “I am sorry” for crimes they did not commit. On the other hand, many are viewing clarifying Muslim teachings, attempting to manage popular perceptions, or condemning criminal actions as unacceptable “apologizing.” Such a view is misguided.Read More
Verily, they were youth who believed in their Lord and we increased them in guidance. And we strengthened their hearts when they took a stand, saying: “Our Lord is the Lord of the Heavens and the Earth; we will never call on any God besides Him. Were we to do so we would have uttered a grave enormity”. (Qur’an 18:13-14)Read More
The month of Ramadan is a special time for purifying oneself, the greatest opportunity to implement the discussions and cures with regard to the heart. In fact, this is the purpose, blessing, and secret of the month. It is a remarkable event when the new moon of Ramadan is sighted, when eyes aim toward the horizon shortly after sunset and wait until suddenly a small sliver appears. Qadi Abu Bakr ibn al-Arabi said in his commentary that the secret of Muslims following a lunar calendar as opposed to a solar calendar is that the sun is used for worldly benefits while the moon is used for other-worldly benefits. Witnessing the new moon is seeing emergence, as it is known in philosophy. The crescent suddenly emerges in the sky seemingly out of nothing. The reason the moon is not visible at first is because the sunlight is too strong. But as sunset progresses, the light diminishes on the horizon and the sunlight against the crescent itself becomes distinguished from the surrounding crimson sky. So what we actually see of the moon is the sun’s light reflected against the lunar sliver. In fact, anything that we see in creation is due to reflected light. And all light comes from God. Witnessing the birth of the new moon is pregnant with metaphor. The word hilal (crescent) is closely related to an Arabic word that refers to birth (istihlal). So what we see is actually the birth of reflected light.
“We, as American Muslims, follow the openhearted and inclusive Islam of Muhammad Ali and completely reject the hatred, provincialism, and intolerance of those who trample upon the rights of others, besmirching and defiling the name of Islam.”
On June 13, 2016, Muslim leaders across North America signed the Orlando Statement. Signatories include Shaykh Hamza Yusuf, Shaykh Abdullah Bin Bayyah, and many others.Read More
Physically, the last phase of Muhammad Ali’s life was very difficult. The ravages of Parkinson’s Disease had robbed him of his health, vigor and voice. Spiritually, however, Ali was only strengthened as he approached the end of his earthly tenure. His illness could not steal his generous heart and noble spirit. Despite that, his departure was painful and represents a great loss.Read More
While visiting my mother, who was recuperating from a major operation in Jordan this past December, I took the time to go through family photos and documents. Aside from the usual collections of early childhood photos and funny faces at events, my late father’s Palestinian passport from the British mandate period captured my attention. It was still in excellent condition and full of stamps and travel details. I had seen, held, and examined it while growing up; however, this time, I approached it as a historian who writes on colonialism and Palestine. His passport is both an important family possession and a piece of history that verifies Palestine’s presence on the map before Zionism began to erase it. Issued in 1943, it is a British passport bearing the number 169390, which is designated for the Mandate of Palestine.Read More
This year’s Islamic Law- Shafi’i Fiqh- class is truly unique. Allah SWT clearly has a special plan in store for us this year! I must first mention that is really an honor to be the first female instructor of the Islamic Sciences of Zaytuna College. It is further my honor to be teaching one of the most widely taught modern fiqh books, Fiqh al-Ibadat on the Shafi’i Madhhab, in Damascus where I studied the Sacred Sciences. You see, the book was written at a time when the seeking of classical Islamic knowledge had greatly dwindled and the wave of secularism had left its devastating marks on post-colonial Damascus. Perhaps the population most greatly affected by this phenomenon was the womenfolk whose already limited access to serious Islamic scholarship became virtually non-existent during this era. As the numbers of women entering college followed by graduate studies increased, the women who held on to the once rich tradition of Islamic scholarship became few and far in between.Read More