Saturday, January 30, 2010

"Muhasaba is a term in the Sunna:

‘Call yourselves to account before you yourselves are called to account.’

And the ulema say that the first step in tawba is muhasaba. We need, as individuals and as societies, to stop gobbling for a moment, and to think about how we have recently spent our time. At the end of each day, to take a minute looking back, to see what we would rather forget. And when we see those things, the desire for tawba begins.

We ask Allah subhanahu ta‘ala to grant us the gift of tawba, for us here, and for all Muslims.

May He forgive us our weaknesses and our secret faults, and our laziness in serving Him.

May He grant us love and brotherhood for one another, and give us the blessing of common action against what threatens us all.

May He empty our hearts of suspicion and pride, and of the love of dispute, and unite us in the service of Islam and the Muslims.

-Abdal-Hakim Murad

"Allah subhanahu wa ta‘ala is qabil al-tawb: the acceptor of penitence.

Innahu kana bi’l-awwabina ghafura: He is ever Forgiving of those who turn to Him. Faced with the evidence of His overpowering might, and of His power to remove His protection from the violence of nature, our hearts tremble. And in this there lies our hope. Allah himself says, in a Hadith Qudsi: ‘Son of Adam! So long as you call upon Me and ask of Me, I shall forgive you for what you have done, and I shall not mind. Son of Adam! were your sins to reach the clouds of the sky and were you then to ask forgiveness of Me, I would forgive you. Son of Adam! Were you to come to Me with sins nearly as great as the earth and were you then to face Me, ascribing no partner to Me, I would bring you forgiveness like unto it.’ [Tirmidhi] The divine name al-Hafiz, the Protector, is the one we seek refuge in against the name al-Muntaqim, the Avenger. This is the meaning of the Prophetic du‘a - A‘udhu bika mink: ‘I seek Your protection from You.’

A man once came to Ibn Mas‘ud, radiya’Llahu anh, and asked him: I have repeatedly committed a major sin - can there be any repentance for me? Ibn Mas‘ud turned away, and the man saw that his eyes had filled with tears. He said: ‘Paradise has eight gates, and each one of them is sometimes open and sometimes shut. With the exception of the Gate of Repentance, which is held open eternally by an angel who never leaves that place. So do not despair!’

One of the early Muslims used to say that ‘Repentance is like becoming a Muslim again.’

We need to find shelter in the Divine protection. And the road back to that place is called tawba.

-Abdal-Hakim Murad

"Modernity serves only the idol of money: it does not serve human beings.

We have turned away from the unitive Source, towards the rubble at the edges of existence: and we are sad. We are hungry. We know that we need what all human beings have always needed: the remembrance of Allah. And yet the modern world tells us that that is nowhere on the list of priorities.

We have forgotten, so we have been forgotten. The modern world is fast asleep, troubled by dreams of material pleasures that somehow are not really pleasurable.

When we forget who we are, so radically, the protection begins to be withdrawn, and we are at the mercy of the material world, which we now trust and love more than we trust and love God.

-Abdal-Hakim Murad

A time for civil engagement, action and disobedience

Imam shot 21 times including in the back according to source

First On Fox 2: Shocking Details Of Slain Imam's Autopsy

Friday, January 29, 2010

Robert Fisk: Why does the US turn a blind eye to Israeli bulldozers?

On IMAN's Community Cafe at the Apollo: Muslims in America: A celebration By Abed Z. Bhuyan

"If historical process, however, that is, routes rather than roots,

is really the stuff of which human identities are made, the immigrant Muslim (like Muslims in the Muslim world) should be able to see himself as a product of the "process of modernity," a process that enthroned not all but a particular persuasion of "white" Westerners as the standard-bearers and definers of human value and achievement. From this perspective, the Post-Colonial Muslim might be able to see that he and the Negro are products of the same historical process. Both reflect the unlit side of the Enlightenment, the darker dimensions of the triumph of "Western" man, the scarred and mutilated underbelley of modernity, with all its hypocrisy, racial terror, and moral myopia: "We hold these truths to be self-evident," in the most brutal and inhumane period of American slavery; "Liberte, equalite, fraternite," on the eve of the the most unequal, unbrotherly, and dehumanizing period of European colonial savagery. On this understanding, the immigrant and Blackamerican Muslim could join forces as part of the corrective conscience of the West, a new Western consciousness committed to liberating both itself and humanity from the debilitating self-alienation and idolatry imposed by the false universals of white supremacy. On this approach, rather than being divided and pushed in opposite directions by American whiteness, immigrant and Blackamerican Muslims could be united in a common cause to undermine its ill-gotten authority and ensure than domination (from the Latin dominari , to rule, to be lord, master of) remains emphatically and uncompromisingly the preserve of God alone.
-Sherman A. Jackson, Islam & the Blackamerican, p. 94-95

Given its historical roots and routes,

the major preoccupation of Blackamerican Islam has been the public square and the secular interests of subverting white (and then Arab/immigrant) supremacy. While I argue that these interests are not inconsistent with the teachings of Islam, I maintain that an exclusive focus on these matters exposes the religion to the danger of degenerating into just another secular ideology, subtly oblivious to matters of personal piety, obedience, and service to God. In such a context, even a successful effort to realize these secular aims cannot hope to lead to the ultimate goal of salvation. In the final chapter, chapter 5, I discuss the necessity of avoiding the trap of secularization and of developing in Blackamerican Islam a tradition of personal piety and spirituality. I consider traditional Sufism as a possible starting point in this regard.
-Sherman A. Jackson, Islam & the Blackamerican, 19

For their part, while Blackamerican Muslims had preceded their immigrant co-religionists by several centuries,

they found themselves unable to integrate and climb the socioeconomic ladder as quickly or effectively as the new arrivals. From their perspective, while American whiteness operated to authenticate and enhance the position of immigrant Muslims, it continued to exert the nearly opposite effect on them. Yet, the putatively universalist, race-blind discourse of historical/Immigrant Islam showed itself to be helpless before this reality, where not actually accommodating of it. Indeed, if, as has been suggested, to approach American society without the clue of race is to produce nursery rhymes, the new "Islamic" discourse of Immigrant Islam constituted a painfully vacuous melody. This would remain the case, at least for most immigrant Muslims, all the way until the events of September 11, 2001, which resulted in an anti-immigrant Muslim backlash that carried unmistakably racial implications. Today, as the "legal whiteness" of immigrant Muslims proves incapable of offsetting the negative effects of a newly acquired, post-9/11 "social nonwhiteness," it remains to be seen if they will join Blackamerican Muslims in a Third Resurrection that seeks to confront the problem of white supremacy in America without degenerating in to reverse racism and without hiding behind the empty platitudes of "Islamic" utopianism.
-Sherman A. Jackson, Islam & the Blackamerican, 16

Airport screening for 'Flying while Muslim'

Where There’s Smoke: Patterns of Tobacco Use among NYC Muslims

Sarah Sayeed, Ph.D. [no longer working as of 12/13/11]


Based in New York City (NYC), Nafis Salaam (NS) is an innovative smoking prevention and cessation program for Muslims developed by Muslim Consultative Network (MCN) in partnership with Islamic Medical Association of North America (IMANA). With funding from American Legacy Foundation, NS launched in early 2009 and breaks new ground in exploring tobacco use behaviors among Muslims and their understanding of religious prohibitions against smoking. NS also developed faith-based approaches to educate young adult Muslims about the risks of tobacco use.

Noting a limited amount of previous data, NS conducted a community survey (n=408) to understand the prevalence of tobacco use and cessation knowledge among cross-sections of a diverse community of over 600,000 Muslim New Yorkers. The survey also assesses the impact of age, ethnic affiliation, religious interpretation and other variables on tobacco use and related knowledge and beliefs. Outreach staff administered surveys in a variety of settings, including mosques, Muslim cultural and social celebrations, as well as events organized by particular immigrant groups. Since the program focused on reaching specific communities, including Turkish, Arab, and Bangladeshi, special effort was made to collect surveys within these groups, as well as to vary age and gender of participants.

Key survey findings include:

Tobacco use is a complex behavior among Muslim communities, including cigarette smoking, shisha/hookah, as well as pan/gutka. These behaviors vary significantly by age, with younger segments more likely to engage in shisha use, and older segments more likely to smoke cigarettes.

Women’s rate of shisha use is about the same as men’s cigarette smoking (19.5% and 15.3%, respectively) relating new norms of women’s socialization and reflecting the marketing of this social trend.

A significantly large number are at serious risk of respiratory illness through current exposure to second-hand smoke. More than half of the survey sample reports family members who smoke (55%) and 65% are either occasionally or often around friends who smoke.

A majority of Muslim New Yorkers were familiar with the nicotine patch (64%) and quitting during Ramadan, the fasting month (44%). But far fewer knew about the other methods, including the NY State Smokers Quit Line (27%), one-on-one counseling (27%) or the use of prescribed anti-depressants (17%). Knowledge of cessation resources differs for smokers versus non-smokers, by ethnicity, gender, and whether someone is foreign-born.

Most participants believed that Islam ―forbids or dislikes‖ smoking and an overwhelming majority expressed interest for mosque-based programs such as support groups for smoking cessation.

Findings of the NS study suggest important pathways for future research. In addition, they demonstrate a need for ongoing smoking prevention and cessation education for New York Muslims, as well as targeting specific age, gender, and ethnic segments. There is also evidence that faith-based and culturally appropriate messaging and religious venues will enhance reach and impact of health education initiatives.

Also see:

Having said this much, I should add that Immigrant Islam is not synonymous with immigrant Muslims,

especially those of the second and third generations, many of whom are actually opposed to its hegemony. Thus, while a successful Third Resurrection will necessarily attack the false pretensions of Immigrant Islam in general, this does not mean that it must target immigrant Muslims. The Third Resurrection is aimed at ideas not at people. Still, in the absence of a viable, American alternative, most immigrant Muslims are likely to remain at least provisional supporters of Immigrant Islam, for, if nothing else, the latter goes a long way in preserving their sense of authenticity, identity, and ownership. In this context, it remains to be seen how disaffected immigrant Muslims will relate to the Third Resurrection and vice versa.
-Sherman A. Jackson, Islam & the Blackamerican, p. 13

"Immigrant Islam embodies the habit of universalizing the particular.

It enshrines the historically informed expressions of Islam in the modern Muslim world as the standard of normativeness for Muslims everywhere. In fact, it equates its understanding of Islam itself with a simple, unmediated perception of an undifferentiated ontological reality. On this approach, “true Islam” can only assume one form anywhere it goes. And in this process, Immigrant Islam’s interpretations are effectively placed beyond critique via the tacit denial that they are in fact interpretations. In short, Immigrant Islam does not interpret; it merely transfers “true” Islam from one location to the next.
-Sherman A. Jackson, Islam & the Blackamerican, p. 12

“This denial of ontological universals has direct and far-reaching implications for our understanding of both Islam and race.

As for Islam, it implies that there is no “real,” “true,” or “authentic” Islam apart from the historical instantiations (read interpretations) of the religion in the world. Even if the Qur’an and the Sunna were to remain physically in the world, there would no doctrine of Unanimous Consensus or Five Pillars or jihad in the absence of Muslims, for these are products of human understanding rather than ontological givens. And while this does not imply that any particular doctrine or school is ipso false, it does mean that none is transcendent. Muslims, in other words, whenever and wherever they happen to be, are ensconced in historical situatedness, and this endows them with a perspective from which they speak. Where their uncoordinated efforts results in unanimous agreement, this may serve as the functional equivalent of a transcendent view, inasmuch as the agreement itself shows the view to be impervious to the dictates of any particular perspective. But where there is disagreement (assuming due dillegence) no particular perspective can be justified in projecting itself onto the world as a universal standard for all. It is here that my critique of what I have been referring to as “Immigrant Islam” begins.
–Sherman A. Jackson, Islam & the Blackamerican, p. 11-12

"By false universal, I am referring to the phenomenon of history internalized, normalized, and then forgotten as history.

This invariably leads to the tendency to speak in universal terms but from a particularly cultural, ideological, or historical perspective. In this process, the cognitive mass [mask?] of the universal category eclipses the contribution of the particular perspective from which the speakers speaks. "Human," ''Islam,'' ''justice,'' and the like are all taken, thus, to represent not particular understandings but ontological realities that are equally esteemed and apprehended by everyone, save the stupid, the primitive, or the morally depraved. From this vantage point, only those who subscribe to specific concretions of these ostensibly universal categories are justified in laying any claim to them. In this capacity, and precisely because it is so imperceptible, the false universal turns out to function as a powerful tool of domination.

-Sherman A. Jackson, Islam and the Blackamerican, 9

Thursday, January 28, 2010

"Above all, critical thought does not submit to state power

or to commands to join in the ranks marching against one or another approved enemy. Rather than the manufactured clash of civilizations, we need to concentrate on the slow working together of cultures that overlap, borrow from each other, and live together in far more interesting ways than any abridged or inauthentic mode of understanding can allow. But for that kind of wider perception we need time and patient and skeptical inquiry, supported by faith in communities of interpretation that are difficult to sustain in a world demanding instant action and reaction."

-Edward Said, Orientalism, xxix.

"Instead of reading in the real sense of the word,

our students today are often distracted by the fragmented knowledge available on the internet and in the mass media."

-Edward Said, Orientalism xxvi,

"Ever single empire in its official discourse has said that it is not like all the others,

that its circumstances are special, that it has a mission to enlighten, civilize, bring order and democracy, and that it uses forces only as a last resort. And, sadder still, there always is a chorus of willing intellectuals to say calming words about benign or altruistic empires, as if one shouldn't trust the evidence of one's eyes watching the destruction and the misery and death brought by the latest mission civilizatrice."

-Edward Said, Orientalism, p. xxi

US grants home schooling German family political asylum

Thanks to Khalid for this! :)

Islamic Cultural Renaissance Finds Roots at Harlem’s Apollo Theater’s-apollo-theater/

Thanks to Khalil for this!

Howard Zinn passes away. What now?

NYT Editorial: France

Unfortunately, French politicians seem willfully blind to the violation of individual liberties. With regional elections scheduled for March, Mr. Sarkozy and his allies are desperately looking for ways to deflect public anger over high unemployment. It is hard to produce jobs and far too easy to fan anti-Muslim prejudices.

France has more than five million Muslim residents, the most of any Western European country. Fewer than 2,000 are said to wear full-body veils, posing no obvious threat to French identity or security. But because they are so few, they make a temptingly cheap electoral target.

Muslim-bashing has been a potent vote-getter for French far-right politicians, most notably Jean-Marie Le Pen. In a clear bid to peel off some of those votes, Mr. Sarkozy’s center-right government has spent months promoting a sometimes foolish, sometimes menacing “national debate” on French identity. No political gain can justify hate-mongering.

Joan Scott on Experience

Experience is not a word we cannot do without, although, given its usage to essentialize identity and reify the subject, it is tempting to abandon it altogether. But experience is so much a part of everyday language, so imbricated in our narratives that it seems futile to argue for its expulsion. It serves as a way of talking about what happened, of establishing difference and similarity, of claiming knowledge that is "unassailable." [43] Given the ubiquity of the term, it seems to me more useful to work with it, to analyze its operations and to redefine it meaning. This entails focusing [sic] on processes of identity production, insisting on the discursive nature of "experience" and on the politics of its construction. Experience is at once always already an interpretation and something that needs to be interpreted. What counts as experience is neither self-evident nor straightfoward; it is always contested, and always therefore political. The study of experience, therefore, must call into question its originary status in historical explanation. This will happen when historians take as their project not the reproduction and transmission of knowledge said to be arrived at through experience, but the analysis of the production of that knowledge itself. Such an analysis would constitute a genuinely nonfoundational history, one which retains its explanatory power and its interest in change but does not stand on or reproduce naturalized categories. [44] It also cannot guarantee the historian's neutrality, for deciding which categories to historicize is inevitably political, necessary tied to the historian's recognition of his or her stake in the production of knowledge. Experience is, in this approach, not the origin of our explanation, but that which we want to explain. This kind of approach does not undercut politics by denying the existence of subjects; it instead interrogates the processes of their creation and, in doing so, refigures history and the role of the historian and opens new ways of thinking about change.[45]

-Joan W. Scott, "The Evidence of Experience" in Questions of Evidence: Proof, Practice, and Persuasion across the Disciplines (Chicago, 1991), p. 387.

Wajahat Ali: An Interview With the Late, Great Howard Zinn

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Obama at One - Howard Zinn

Howard Zinn


I' ve been searching hard for a highlight. The only thing that comes close is some of Obama's rhetoric; I don't see any kind of a highlight in his actions and policies.

As far as disappointments, I wasn't terribly disappointed because I didn't expect that much. I expected him to be a traditional Democratic president. On foreign policy, that's hardly any different from a Republican--as nationalist, expansionist, imperial and warlike. So in that sense, there's no expectation and no disappointment. On domestic policy, traditionally Democratic presidents are more reformist, closer to the labor movement, more willing to pass legislation on behalf of ordinary people--and that's been true of Obama. But Democratic reforms have also been limited, cautious. Obama's no exception. On healthcare, for example, he starts out with a compromise, and when you start out with a compromise, you end with a compromise of a compromise, which is where we are now.

I thought that in the area of constitutional rights he would be better than he has been. That's the greatest disappointment, because Obama went to Harvard Law School and is presumably dedicated to constitutional rights. But he becomes president, and he's not making any significant step away from Bush policies. Sure, he keeps talking about closing Guantánamo, but he still treats the prisoners there as "suspected terrorists." They have not been tried and have not been found guilty. So when Obama proposes taking people out of Guantánamo and putting them into other prisons, he's not advancing the cause of constitutional rights very far. And then he's gone into court arguing for preventive detention, and he's continued the policy of sending suspects to countries where they very well may be tortured.

I think people are dazzled by Obama's rhetoric, and that people ought to begin to understand that Obama is going to be a mediocre president--which means, in our time, a dangerous president--unless there is some national movement to push him in a better direction.

Goodbye Howard Zinn

Howard Zinn, Historian, Dies at 87

Howard Zinn, historian who challenged status quo, dies at 87

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

"It goes a long way back, some twenty years.

All my life I had been looking for something, and everywhere I turned someone tried to tell me what it was. I accepted their answers too, though they were often in contradiction and even self-contradictory. I was naive. I was looking for myself and asking everyone except myself questions which I, and only I, could answer. It took me a long time and much painful boomeranging of my expectations to achieve a realization everyone else appears to have been born with: That I am nobody but myself.
-pg. 15 of Ralph Ellison's Invisible Man


"Lord God, give me light in my heart, and light in my tongue. Give me light in my eye, and light in my hearing. Give me light upon my right side, and upon my left side. Give me light above me, light beneath me, light before me, and light behind me. Give me light. Make me light."

(Hadith in Muslim, Musafirun, 181, 187)

Translated by Abdal Hakim Murad.


Events at Columbia

[Columbia University MSA]


For a comprehensive debate on the practice, viability, sustainability and career prospects (legal, consulting and finance) of Islamic Finance

Please join the MSA, the Barnard Office of Career Development, and our many other sponsors in the first ever Islamic Finance Symposium at Columbia University. Please join world renowned panelists. Featuring:

**Opening remarks by Barnard President Debora Spar and Dr. Jeffrey Sachs**

- Amir A. Rahman; Consultant

- Umar Mughal; Lawyer

- Taha Abdul-Basser; Harvard University Chaplain and Financial adviser

DATE: Thursday, February 11

TIME: 5:30 pm - 8:00 pm




Save the date! Islam Awareness Week will be February 15-19. Following are a list of the exciting events planned for the week!


Monday, February 15: HIJABI MONOLOGUES
Hijabi Monologues is about creating a space for American Muslim women to share their voices; a space to breathe as they are. Through the power of storytelling, categories are challenged. Through stories, strangers touch and connect. Through stories, the story-teller and listener are humanized. Hijabi Monologues help transform distinct and often personal narratives into universal experiences that transcend religion, gender, and culture.
7:30 pm, C555


Tuesday, February 16: SHARI'A AND MODERNITY
In recent years, Islamic law, or Shari’a, has been appropriated as a tool of modernity in the Muslim world and in the West. From its place in the challenges facing post-colonial nations to its incorporation by and relationships with various social forces, Shari’a has become a highly politicized topic. Join us, as world renowned scholars Wael Hallaq and George Saliba explain the challenges posed by Shari’a and modernity.
Roone Arledge Cinema


Join Salman Ahmed from the world-renowned musical group Junoon as he reads excerpts from his book and plays a few songs. There will be a discussion following his presentation, as this Muslim rock star talks about his "Revolution for Peace."
(Presented by Columbia Graduate School of Journalism, South Asian Journalists Association, and ASMA)
7:00 pm, World Room (3rd floor of Journalism building)


More details to come!


In honor of Black History Month and Islam Awareness Week, the Muslim Students Association (MSA) and the Black Students Organization (BSO) present the African American Muslim Experience. Featuring Columbia University PhD candidate Zaheer Ali, and Sylviane Diouf, author of "Servants of Allah: African Muslims Enslaved in the Americas," the event will draw upon the rich history of African American Muslims in Harlem as well as throughout the United States, discuss the impressive accomplishments of African American Muslims, and create a space for audience members to discuss their personal experiences.
James Room


More information about events and locations to follow! Event details are subject to change.

Visit our newly updated website frequently for up-to-date announcements, event listings, prayer times/locations, etc.

Monibot: A Bounty For Blair’s Arrest

Robert Fisk: The tree-lined bunkers that could change the face of the Middle East

Cornel West Calls Out Barack Obama

In this video message to the president, the celebrated professor asks, “How deep is your love for poor and working people?” and urges, “Don’t simply be the friendly face of the American empire.”

Hedges: Democracy in America Is a Useful Fiction

Creativity & the Spiritual Path: Connecting Creative Muslims with Zachary Twist moderating! :)

Sunday 21st February 2010

1pm - 6pm

William Walker Center
650 Shell Blvd.
Foster City, Bay Area
San Francisco

Purchase your tickets now, before the February 15 deadline.

All welcome, however no young children please.

Creativity & the Spiritual Path is designed to connect, nuture and inspire creative Muslims through an ongoing series of events and conversations.

This initiative has been created by Barakah Life andPeter Gould.

Join the Facebook Group

We are very pleased to announce a spectacular line-up for our next event to be held in the Bay Area, San Francisco!

  • Imam Zaid Shakir – Zaytuna Institute Scholar
  • Imam Abdul Latif Finch – Lighthouse Mosque Imam
  • Wajahat Ali – Playwright
  • Hajra Meeks - Professor of Islamic History & Islamic Art
  • Elijah Meeks - Digital Humanities at Stanford
  • Waleed Aly – Politics Lecturer & Musician (Australia)
  • Amer Meknas - MuslimFest Director (Canada)
  • Zachary Twist – Event Moderator
  • Susan Carland – Salaam Café TV Presenter (Australia)
  • Nermen Moufti - Graphic Designer (Canada)
  • Mustafa Davis - Film Director
  • Nabeela Raza - Calligrapher
  • Jenny Matheson - Author & Illustrator
  • Linda Cato - Visual Arts Teacher
  • Wafa Sabil - Architect
  • David Platford - Contemporary Landscape Artist
  • Said Nusaiba - Photographer
  • Peter Gould – Designer & Event Co-Founder (Australia)
  • Khadija O’Connell – Designer & Event Co-Founder (US)

Full profiles will be on our website soon inshaAllah.

Please purchase your tickets before 15th February - no registrations will be accepted at the door. Visit the Website | Facebook Event Page

Previous Event Feedback

Our recent event in Sydney, Australia was received with truly positive and inspiring feedback, alhumdulillah. A number of collaborations and connections have already resulted from the day involving Artists, Designers, Architects and Creatives! Our friends at Desypher are calling for Sydney attendees to get in touch regarding an exciting new museum.

Pictured: Haji Noor Deen (China), Imam Abdul Latif (USA), Waleed Aly (Australia). Photos courtesy of Zahrah Habibullah-Williams.

Sponsorship & Advertising

We have a sponsorship information kit and would welcome enquiries or suggestions for appropriate sponsors who will help support creative work in our global Muslim community from $250. Please click here inshaAllah.

Thanks to Najeeb for this! :)

IMAN Rocks the Apollo in Harlem, with Mos Def, Outlandish and More

via Wajahat Ali via Faiza Ali

Monday, January 25, 2010

"Today professionals are preoccupied with the 'dysfunctional family.'

But to some extent all families are dysfunctional. No family is perfect, and most have serious problems. A family is a microcosm, reflecting the nature of the world, which runs on both virtue and evil. We may be tempted at times to imagine the family as full of innocence and good will, but actual family life resists such romanticism. Usually it presents the full range of human potential, including evil, hatred, violence, sexual confusion, and insanity. In other words, dynamics of actual family reveal the soul's complexity and unpredictability, and any attempts to place a veil of simplistic sentimentality over the family image will break down.

-pg. 26 of Care of the Soul

"Galahad make for the tube station when he left Moses,

and he stand up there on Queensway watching everybody going about their business, and a feeling of loneliness and fright come on him all of a sudden. He forget all the brave words he was talking to Moses, and he realise that here he is, in London, and he ain't have money or work or place to sleep or any friend or anything, and he standing up here so busy he frighten to ask questions from any of them. You think any of them bothering with what going on in his mind? Or in anybody else mind but their own? (41-42)

Selvon, Sam. The Lonely Londoners. New York: Longman, 2001.

"These days, spades all over the place, and every shipload is big news,

and the English people don't like the boys coming to England to work and live.'

'Why is that?' Galahad ask.

'Well, as far as I could figure, they frighten that we get job in front of them, though that does never happen. The other thing is that they just don't like black people, and don't ask me why, because that is a question that bigger brains than mine trying to find out from way back.'

'Things as bad over here as in America?' Galahad ask.

'That is a point the boys always debating.' Moses say. 'Some say yes, and some say no. The thing is, in America they don't like you, and they tell you so straight, so that you know how you stand. Over here is the old English diplomacy: "thank you sir," and "how do you do" and that sort of thing. In America you see a sign telling you to keep off, but over here you don't see any, but when you go into the hotel or the restaurant they will politely tell you to haul - or else give the cold treatment. (39-40)

Selvon, Sam. The Lonely Londoners. New York: Longman, 2001.

"And this sort of thing was happening at a time

when the English people starting to make rab about how too much West Indians coming to the country: this was a time, when any corner you turn, is ten to one you bound to bounce up a spade. In fact, the boys all over London, it ain't have a place where you wouldn't find them, and big discussions going on in Parliament about the situation, though the old Brit'n too diplomatic to clamp down on the boys or to do anything drastic like stop them from coming to the Mother Country. But big headlines in the papers every day, and whatever the newspaper and the radio say in this country, that is the people Bible. Like one time when newspaper say that the West Indians think that the streets of London paved with gold a Jamaican fellar went to the income tax office to find out something and first thing the clerk tell him is, 'You people think the streets of London are paved with gold?' Newspaper and radio rule this country. (24)

Selvon, Sam. The Lonely Londoners. New York: Longman, 2001.

i turned 23 today btw :)

Shaykh Jihad Brown: Should Muslims be concerned about Haiti?

Juan Cole: The Irrelevance of Bin Ladin

Sura Luqman 31:33

O people! Fear your Lord, and fear a Day when the parent will not be able to avail his child in any way, nor the child to avail his parent. Allah's promise is the truth. Let not the life of the world deceive you, nor let the deceiver deceive you concerning Allah.

Sura Ar-Rum 30: 54-60

Allah it is Who created you of weakness, then gave you after weakness strength; then after strength, weakness and gray hair. He creates what He will. He is the Knowing, the Able.

And on the day when the Hour comes the criminals will swear they tarried but an hour. Thus did they lie before.

[footnote 717: They deceived themselves in the world, pretending that they had no future life, refusing to see the evidence. In the same manner they will wish to refuse to see the evidence that they are resurrected and about to be judged.]

But those to whom knowledge and faith had been given will say: You have tarried, by Allah's decree, until the Day of Resurrection. This is the Day of Resurrection, but you did not know.

On that day their excuses will not profit the unjust, nor will they be allowed to make amends.

Truly We have coined for mankind in this Qur'an of every kind of example. But if you were to bring them a sign, those who disbelieve would say: "You are but forgers."

Thus does Allah seal the hearts of those who do not know.

So have patience! Allah's promise is true, and let not those who have no certainity make you impatient.

-The Majestic Qur'an, pg.410

Sunday, January 24, 2010

"I really do believe that this twenty first century

and in fact the first quarter of this twenty first century will be an enormously important era in the history of Islam in America.

It is this period that future generations will look back to and if those generations are successful and they are enjoying a dignified existence as Muslims in America, neither assimilated nor isolated, then they will look back to the activities of this generation, this one right here, and say ‘that was the beginning.’

And if they are failures, they will look still, back to this generation, this one right here, and say ‘they were failures.’ We are right now making history whether we like it or not. If we do absolutely nothing, we are making history and our contribution to history therefore will be nothing. Allah has placed us in a historically significant place and now we are living in a historically significant time, and what we do will make all the difference in the world.
(Dr. Sherman Jackson, Muslims at the Crossroads, ISNA 2003)

"Our generation of American Muslims will likely to play the pivotal role in the first effective establishment of Islam in the United States.

This lot is unlikely to fall to our children or grandchildren. They will either be the beneficiaries of our success or the victims of our failure. Indifference toward the future of Muslims in America is not just an offense to the community; such indifference will lead to irremediable historical mistakes. The supreme societal obligation that falls upon our generation in building the American Muslim community of the future is to identify the priorities and primary societal obligations that concern us and to acquire the means to meet them. The five operational principles are among the greatest of our resources and constitute a necessary component of eventual success.
-Dr. Umar F. Abd-Allah in his most recent Nawawi paper called "Living Islam with Purpose"

"Social sciences like psychology, sociology, and anthropology are often mistakenly regarded as less worthy because they are not as lucrative

and do not afford elite status in our community. In reality, the social sciences play a critical role in modern society and constitute key priorities for American Muslims. They serve the community's essential interests in areas such as mental health, social welfare, and cultural development. Our ability to function effectively as Muslims in modern society requires a nuanced understanding of modernity. Such an understanding falls squarely within the competence of the social sciences. It is a primary societal obligation for American Muslims to develop sufficient cadres of well-trained social scientists whose research is not only of use to the Muslim community but is valuable to the greater society at large.

Specializations in the humanities like history, modern thought, philosophy, and literature are widely considered in our community as marginal, but they too are necessary and meet essential societal obligations similar to those of the social sciences. They impart a wider view of the world; how its past relates to its present and future; and the seminal ideas of our times. They give direct access to effective cross-cultural understanding and intellectual development and enable the community to take interpretive control of itself and its religion in a contemporary context.
-Dr. Umar F. Abd-Allah in his most recent Nawawi paper called "Living Islam with Purpose"

"Times change, and viable cultures adapt.

It was a matter of consensus among Islamic legal thinkers that the legal judgments of earlier times had to be brought under constant review to insure that they remained in keeping with the times. A standard legal aphorism declared: “Let no one repudiate the change of rulings with the change of times.” By the same token, Islamic legal consensus renounced mechanical application of the law through unthinking reiteration of standard texts. The eminent nineteenth-century Syrian legal scholar Ibn 'Abidin warned that any jurist who held unbendingly to the standard legal decisions of his school without regard to changing times and circumstances would necessarily obliterate fundamental rights and extensive benefits, bringing about harm far exceeding any good he might possibly achieve. Ibn 'Abidin asserted further that such blindness constituted nothing less than oppression and gross injustice.

Al-Qarafi, a renowned thirteenth-century jurist, declared similarly:

Persons handing down legal judgments while adhering blindly to the texts in their books without regard for the cultural realities of their people are in gross error. They act in contradiction to established legal consensus and are guilty of iniquity and disobedience before God, having no excuse despite their ignorance; for they have taken upon themselves the art of issuing legal rulings without being worthy of that practice…. Their blind adherence to what is written down in the legal compendia is misguidance in the religion of Islam and utter ignorance of the ultimate objectives behind the rulings of the earlier scholars and great personages of the past whom they claim to be imitating.

These words resounded well in the ears of Ibn Qayyim, a great jurisconsult and scholar of the following century, who commended al-Qarafi by saying:

This is pure understanding of the law. Whoever issues legal rulings to the people merely on the basis of what is transmitted in the compendia despite differences in their customs, usages, times, places, conditions, and the special circumstances of their situations has gone astray and leads others astray. His crime against the religion is greater than the crime of a physician who gives people medical prescriptions without regard to the differences of their climes, norms, the times they live in, and their physical natures but merely in accord with what he finds written down in some medical book about people with similar anatomies. He is an ignorant physician, but the other is an ignorant jurisconsult but much more detrimental.
[footnote 14: Both quotations are from 'Adil Quta, Al-'Urf, 1:64-65 (Mecca: al-Maktaba al-Makkiyya, 1997).]
-Dr. Umar Faruq Abd-Allah, "Islam and the Cultural Imperative"

The Arabic Language Institute of America

“When I get a little money I buy books; and if any is left I buy food and clothes.” -- Erasmus

via Omar Mullick :)

Screening and Discussion: A Road to Mecca: The Journey of Muhammad Asad. Discussion with Talal Asad and Joseph Massad