Saturday, July 4, 2009

Consistent Uprightness

"The Prophet, peace [be] upon him, was asked for guidance that was so concise yet clear and effective that it would need no subsequent clarification. He responded, peace [be] upon him, "Declare, 'I believe in God!' and thereafter be consistently upright." (Muslim, no. 38)

Those who are familiar with the nuances of the Arabic language know that the particle conveying the meaning thereafter, "thumma," indicates the lapsing of a considerable period of time. In other words, consistent uprightness in religion does not occur in an instant, but only after the lapsing of a considerable period of time. It is here that consistency comes into play. One has to slowly but steadily build a reality of righteousness. If our spiritual transformation comes too suddenly, then in all likelihood it is neither real nor deep."

-Imam Zaid Shakir in pg. 142 of Treatise for the Seekers of Guidance: Al-Muhasibi's Risala al-Mustarshidin

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Georgia university professor alleges anti-Muslim bias

July 3rd, 2009
Posted: 09:19 PM ET

ATLANTA, Georgia (CNN) — A Georgia State University professor quit this week as director of the school’s Middle East Institute, alleging that GSU failed to properly handle incidents of anti-Muslim bias against one of her students and then took action against both herself and the student when they complained.

“One of my real concerns is that the way the college handled the original grievance and the way in which the college retaliated in the aftermath has sent a very clear signal around the university that, if you’re a faculty member or if you’re in a position of power, it’s OK to discriminate,” said Dona Stewart, who has been at the school for 13 years and has been reassigned to the department of geosciences. “For me, this is not necessarily a Muslim issue, it’s a civil-rights issue.”

The incident began last August, when Slma Shelbayah, then studying for a Ph.D. and working as a visiting instructor at GSU’s MEI, complained that a communications professor had harassed her during a departmental breakfast for Ph.D. candidates, according to a complaint she filed in November with the Equal Employment Opportunities Commission. Stewart filed a separate complaint in January.

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Courtesy of Ustadha Zaynab Ansari

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Council Votes for Two Muslim School Holidays

Article in the New York Times regarding the City Council vote to recognize Eid as an official school holiday as well as opposition from Mayor Bloomberg...There's a quote from Imam Talib and a Stuy grad :)

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Al-Weird Latif by Dawud McCarthy

[Thanks to brother Dawud for allowing me to post his poem here]

The young Muslim can feel abused
His brothers make him feel so confused
They point the finger at his point of views
Asks for help but gets refused

Sometimes you want leave the deen entirely
When the Imam dismissed your entire society
So much pressure you're ready to pop
Can't you do your dhikh in the form of hip hop?

For years we've struggled through this phase
Of trying to find the American ways
To know what's up
But still lower our gaze

The shades of gray only grew more dense
Does Islam in this country even make sense?
Of your jeans and t-shirts you're in constant defense
Can't the yard of the mosque have a white picket fence?

From my circumstances I had to get free
And I heard there was shade under the olive tree
Made up my mind to make a new start
Going to California with an aching in my heart

So each night I prayed and prayed
for Allah to send me to meet Imam Zaid
Before I end up completely reclusive
I had to talk to Hamza Yusef

Prayers were answered, bags to pack
Go West young man and Don't Look Back
Find if its true that I'm a villain
If I eat hot dogs and sing Bob Dylan

Make salah and go to class
I hope I find the truth at last
Would learning Arabic make it easy
To translate the Shariah to Engleezy?

I must have thought my eyes had lied
The girls and boys sat side by side!
And I almost had a heart attack
When I heard Imam Zaid quote the Man in Black!

How refreshing it is to see
Islam with gender equality
American born spiritual reformers
Who used to skate board and watch "Transformers"

And what a beautiful surprise
A culture I could recognize
Muslims who can mix between
Seen, sheen and Rage Against the Machine

Finally my heart felt free
With 'Abdullah 'Ali and Ustadh D
They took the complex to simplicity
Walking Alif Baa Taa to Run DMC (or Mork and Mindy)

And did Huey Lewis hear the news
That our Imam wears Adidas shoes?
And accepts the point of different views
And marches to the beat of this song
Maybe we can all get along

What do you think the muftis would say
If they heard the idea
That both Sunni and Shia
Feel that its OK to pray
Side by side in the city by the Bay?

Amazing that a little tolerance now
Can slaughter the old sacred cow
A little Abdul Latif will correct false belief
An application oh so vital
Use a Public Enemy to smash a Billy Idol

A middle way that can be found
Educated Islam in a college town
In halaqas we'd gather 'round
Quoting 'Omar, 'Ali, and James Brown

The Berkeley scene is great for joking
But I don't know what that guy was smoking
It really is an incredible town
If only the frat house could keep it down

So make our spirits feel at peace
We'd burn some Ood with Rhamis
And if our evenings ever needed a spark
I'm pretty sure his shoes glow in the dark

And if we needed room to pray
During San Fransisco stay
We had Sevim to plan our day

If our hunger made us mad
We looked no further than Ebad
Who knew where tasty meals are had

Because safe inside Zaytuna school
We take exception to the rule
That you must choose between Islam and cool
Between the 4th of July and Fiqh and Usool
Only an accusative tool could be so cruel
We on the A-Team pity the fool

And then you woke up to these realities
East Coast Shafi'is meet West Side Malikis
Each day in class we get our fix
Verb conjugation and politics

If I ask not what my country can do for me
The grammar makes its plain to see
That I would trade Barack Obama
For candidate Sidi Usama

Like the Monkees, I'm believin'
That a truly inspired resident
Would make Eric B the president
And stop the bleedin'

Do you really think they would come from Sweden
For anything less than the Garden of Eden?
For an Arabic Summer dream come true
From around the world on planes they flew
From Australia to Great Britain
Trying to find where we all fit it
To find religion at its best
Revival coming from the West
Lessons we can teach the rest

For these two months Allah I praise
I'll remember them the rest of my days
God bless Zaytuna Institute
For the misconceptions it does refute
Incredibly we've come so far
Filled with pride for who we are

Amazing Grace how sweet the sound
I once was lost but now I'm found
And if you know what I mean
Make du'a and say "Ameen"

Say Ameen!


See video of brother Dawud reciting his poem at the end of the Zaytuna Summer Arabic Intensive 2008: (thank you Lina!)

E-baad-e News

Monday, June 29, 2009

Daily Cal: Berkeley May Become Home to First Fully Accredited Islamic College in US

Contributing Writer

Monday, June 29, 2009

Category: News > City > Business

Local Islamic leaders and city officials said they are open to the possibility of Berkeley being home to the first fully accredited Islamic college in the nation.

Zaytuna College, located in Downtown Berkeley at 2070 Allston Way, Suite 300, is moving ahead with plans to seek accreditation as a four-year institution after graduating its pilot class of five students in 2008, according to the college's Web site.

Advisors for the project have scheduled a June vote to decide whether Zaytuna College could open as an officially accredited institution as early as fall 2010, according to the Associated Press.

"I think it would be wonderful to have," said Berkeley Mayor Tom Bates. "It would be a nice addition to our academic and religious community."

Two prominent American Muslim scholars, Imam Zaid Shakir and Sheikh Hamza Yusuf, are behind the project, having spent years developing a curriculum that incorporates a liberal arts education and training in Islamic scholarship, according to the AP.

Officials at Zaytuna College were unavailable for comment.

The college will offer courses in Arabic language and in Islamic theology and law, said Munir Jiwa, who works regularly with Zaytuna College and founded the Center of Islamic Studies at the Graduate Theological Union.

The college will represent a "collaboration" between scholarship and the practice of the Islamic faith, providing training for the Islamic religious leaders who are much needed throughout the country, he said.

"This collaboration is important for increasing the role religion plays in public life," he said. "Zaytuna, UC Berkeley and the GTU are leaders in these conversations."

Ramy Salah, former president of the UC Berkeley Muslim Students Association, said that the association has strong ties to Zaytuna and looks forward to its becoming more established.

"American Muslim identity is something new and evolving," Salah said. "The American Muslim scholars at Zaytuna have the resources for American Muslims to develop their identity and knowledge of the religion."

Tags: Zaytuna University

Article Link:

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