Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Imam Zaid Shakir: Egypt: Between Old Men and Starfish Throwers

In response to these and other protesting voices, I simply say that these words are not intended to open old wounds or stir up old grievances. They are simply meant to tell those young people who are throwing starfish back into the sea to keep tossing. Young folks, when old men tell you that you are unrealistic, throw a starfish into the sea. When old men tell you that you are too idealistic, throw another starfish into the sea. When they tell you a storm is rushing towards the shore, so hurry home and protect yourself, defy the winds and rain and throw yet another starfish into the sea. 
If we cannot stand and peacefully condemn those who are working to ensure another fifty years of authoritarian brutality in places like Egypt, and encourage our children to do the same, then whither our future generations? If we cannot tell them that the best Jihad is a word of truth spoken to a tyrannical ruler, then what do we have to prevent them from believing that the likes of ISIS, al-Qaeda or Boko Haram embody the best Jihad? If we cannot reveal to them the fallacy in the statement that the only choice before them is to cower silently in their homes or see their countries descend into the hell currently afflicting Libya, Syria, Yemen, Afghanistan or Iraq then what vision do we expect them to hold for the future?

Songs of Presence

Songs of Presence is the new name for the Shadhili choral qasida collection Sheikh Nuh Keller asked Mustafa Styer to produce at the end of the 2005 Markfield Suhba. The first edition, Echoes from Eternity, has been sold out for around two years.
The basis of Echoes from Eternity was Sheikh Iyad al-Ghawj’s orginal collection produced for Sheikh Nuh. Echoes was fortified by the selections of Sidi Abu Munir and Sheikh Salah al-Kurdi and requests from individuals for qasidas that are sung in Shadhili and Sufi gatherings. 
The second edition was renamed Nasa’im al-Hadra by Sheikh Nuh. Nasa’im al-Hadra (Songs of Presence in English) includes 80 new qasidas. These are mostly provided by the son of Sidi Abu Munir, Sidi ‘Abd al-Rahman al-Sha’’ar—previously the head munshid of the Nuriyya and Ward Mosque—who was able to relate exactly which qasidas Sheikh ‘Abd al-Rahman al-Shaghouri (may his inmost soul be sanctified) promoted, by virtue of preferring those conveying the sublime meanings of the Shadhili tariqa. He was also able to describe the textual variants Sheikh ‘Abd al-Rahman preferred and often his reasons for such. Many of these discussions have been summarised in the expanded English notes.

Glimpses of the Life of Sheikh ‘Abd al-Rahman al-Shaghouri

Practice was the aim of the sheikh’s knowledge. Imam Abul Hasan al-Shadhili (d. 654/1258), whose order the sheikh belonged to, would not let his disciples beg, but had them earn their own livelihood, and Sheikh ‘Abd al-Rahman emphasized the importance of having a trade to earn one’s living by the work of one’s hand. He used to say, “I hope to pass on from this world without having taken a single piaster from anyone: I don’t even take from my own children.”
 Taken from Sea without Shore by Shaykh Nuh Ha Mim Keller. 

Tazkiyah Retreat with Shaykh Mokhtar Maghraoui - Registration Now Open

"ليس الكلام كالذوق" - الشيخ عبد الرحمن الشاغوري

شرح قوانين حكم الإشراق إلى كافة الصوفيّة في جميع الآفاق تصنيف الإمام جمال الدين محمّد أبي المواهب الشاذليّ
يشرح به الشيخ عبد الرحمن الشاغوري القانون الحادي عشر - قانون الفناء (audio)

Having Faith in Interfaith: Creating a Connected Country

Intolerance is no stranger to Islam, as it has been present since the time of Prophet Muhammad
(S) and the tribe of Quraysh. Even then, through a respectful and well-constructed
interfaith dialogue, the young Ummah represented its beliefs and worked to replace
misconception with truth. Today, intolerance remains prevalent and has become a virus
that is quickly spreading worldwide. One of the most practical ways to stop the growth of
this epidemic is by encouraging a positive and open communication between faiths, as
they did in the Prophet’s (S) time. As young, energetic and articulate Muslims, let’s learn
to work together to build hope for a tolerant tomorrow.

Speakers: Ameena Jandali, Rami Nashishibi

Sunday, 4:00 – 5:00 PM
Session 15A
Room: 21-22

Let the Ummah Rise Again

To Muslims, community stands as one of the most essential components of our identity.
We’re taught that a strong ummah helps strengthen our Muslim identity as well as support
life-long Muslim values. However, for various ideological, political or social reasons, we’ve
grown apart in our individual communities and as a broader Muslim community in North
America. This lecture will be a conversation about the current social landscape of Muslim
communities in North America, what we can do to improve them, and how we can together
build a stronger and more united Muslim collective identity.

Speakers: Tahir Anwar, Zaid Shakir

Sunday, 2:45 – 3:45 PM
Session 14A
Room: 21-22

MYNA: In the Hot Seat

With the rise of extremist groups such as ISIS, there is more and more confusion regarding
Islam circulating the world. The questions directed at Muslims, regardless of their intentions,
put us at a target. Although we are representations of Islam, we may not know how
to adequately answer all of these questions. So just how do we do so? This session will
go over the common misconceptions people have about Islam and how to respond when
confronted with them.

Speakers: Suhaib Webb, Tahera Ahmad

Saturday, 4:00 – 5:00 PM
Session 8A
Room: 21 – 22

MYNA: Recharge and Reflect

Today, the word “success” has become synonymous with the word “money”. Rather than
striving to perfect the deen, the Muslim community seems more focused on making the
most money and receiving the most prestigious job. This perception is not only detrimental
to the Muslim-American psyche, it also inhibits cultural and spiritual development. But
what can we do to break out of this superficial mindset? What do we do about materialistic
goals in general?

Speaker: Saad Omar

Friday, 6:30 – 7:30 PM
Session 2A
Room: 21 – 22

Taking Care of Business: Tackling Anti-Muslim Sentiments

With the tragedy that unfolded in Chapel Hill, the existing of anti-Muslim sentiments has
become an undisputable fact. This session will focus on strategies and solutions that we
can implement to face this challenge and reclaim the narrative about American Muslims.

Speakers: The Lighthouse Project, Farris Barakat

Sunday, 4:30 – 5:30 PM
Breakout Session 7a
Room: Rosemont A

Building MSA’s: The Plight of Inner City Muslims

As more Muslims flock towards the comfortable, suburban demographic- we seem to be
losing sight of the bigger picture. We must remind ourselves to not have a limited perception
of reality, but rather to constantly remember the less fortunate sides of our Ummah.
By choosing to keep our money and resources close to our own communities, we have
abandoned our very own brothers & sisters in the inner-city. It is time to rid ourselves of
the “out of sight-out of mind” mentality, and agree that ALL communities deserve to be
uplifted. We should come up with projects from our respective campuses that can give
back to these communities.

Speakers: Jamilah Karim

Sunday, 12:30 – 1:30 PM
Breakout Session 6b
Room: Rosemont C

Spiritual Reservoirs: The Everlasting Promise

“Indeed, Allah has purchased from the believers their lives and their money [in exchange] for
that they will have Paradise.” Surah Tawba (9:111)

When God mentions this exchange, He includes the way we act, talk, behave, hold ourselves,
etc. Everything we do or don’t do impact our covenant with God. How can we make the
most of this promise?

Speaker: Dalia Fahmy, Zaid Shakir

Saturday, 12:30 – 1:30 PM
Breakout Session 2b
Room: Rosemont B

Spiritual Reservoirs: Working for Good

“Among the people are those who are keys to goodness and locks to evil. And from among the
people are those who are keys to evil and locks to goodness. So glad tidings to the one who Allah
puts the key to goodness in his hands, and destruction to the one who Allah puts the key to evil
in his hands.” (ibn Maajah)

Islam requires that we talk the talk and walk the walk. The Prophet Muhammad (SAW) was
a key for good wherever he went. We should strive to be the same. While we do certain actions

on a daily basis, how do we know if we’re currently keys to goodness or keys to evil?

Speakers: Zaid Shakir, Hussain Kamani

Friday, 6:00 – 7:00 PM
Breakout Session 1b
Room: Rosemont B

MSA: The Journey Begins

“For each one are successive angels before and behind him who protect him by the decree of
Allah. Indeed, Allah will not change the condition of a people until they change what is in themselves. And when Allah intends for a people ill, there is no repelling it. And there is no Guardian
for them besides Him.” Surah Ra’d (13:11)

No matter how challenging times become, the light of God will always descend to guide
us. This session will offer insight into the overall convention theme, as well as practical
tips for benefiting the most during the course of the next few days. It’s important to start
off our journey prepared!

Speakers: Zaid Shakir, Altaf Husain

Friday 4:30 – 5:45PM
Main Session 1
Room: Grand
Ballroom ABCD

Demystifying Mental Health Care

Join Khalil Center and American Muslim Health Professionals (AMHP) in a discussion about the
“unknowns” related to mental health care, which are often overwhelming and discouraging. Seeking
care can be challenging for many Muslims, and is often avoided due to fears and also unfamiliarity
regarding the process and experience of evaluation and treatment. This session will help increase
the understanding of the role of psychological and psychiatric care, and address common misconceptions,
as well as discuss the Islamic perspective on mental health wellness.

Panelists: Yasmeen Fareeduddin, DO, MPH, Fahad Khan, PsyD, MA,
MS, Dr. Sarah N. Syed, PsyD, MA

Saturday, 3:30 – 4:30 PM
Room: 32

Police brutality and #BlackLivesMatter

Police brutality is in the forefront of news today. In this roundtable, activists and academians
will explore its history, the current climate, and ways we can work to address this disturbing
trend facing our society today. Come join us as we try to work on solutions which can be used
by your communities to build trust and community partnerships.

Speakers: Linda Sarsour, Haroon Najam, Mustafa Abdullah, Margari Hill

Facilitator: Mustafa Abdullah

9:00 – 10:30 AM
DFW Room

Social Injustice Affects on the Muslim Community

Access to education, shelter, and sustenance are all basic human rights and as Muslims helping
others meet these needs is a big part of our faith. Come and help us dive into a deeper discussion
on critical issues affecting millions of Americans daily. We will analyze contributors to hunger,
homelessness and economic profiling. We will also assess current community needs, and work
on solutions to improve the lives of individuals in our community and our role as Muslims.

Speakers: Rami Nashashibi, Bambade Shakoor-Abdullah, Clyde El-Amin, Altaf Kaiseruddin

Facilitator: Namira Islam

Saturday, 9:00 – 10:30 AM
DFW Room

Dealing with Extremism in Our Community: Shari’ah Scholars’ Perspectives

Join this informative discussion with world-renowned scholars and experts in the field.

Speakers: Muhammad Al-Yaqoubi, Wahiduddin Khan

10:00 AM – 1:00 PM
Special Session
Room 13 – 14

Reclaiming the Muslim American Narrative

Muslims in America are currently experiencing multiple stresses of discrimination, isolation,
and alienation from the host culture, fear and misperceptions and misrepresentations of
Islam by main media coverage. Understanding sources of resiliency and integrating them
in our lifestyles can insure better and healthier communities.

Speakers: Marwa Azab, Khalil Abdul Rashid, Farha Abbasi

Moderator: Ayyub Hanif

3:45 – 4:45 PM, Session 15C, Room 26

The Story of the Third Space

While masjids and established organizations provide an excellent outlet for many ritualistic
Islamic practices, the emergence of alternative spaces indicates a new need within our
Muslim Communities. How did third spaces come about? What needs are they addressing?
Join us to learn how these institutions are a part of the American Muslim Struggle.

Speakers: Tamara Gray, AbdulKarim Yahya, Roohi Younis

Moderator: Noor Hasan

3:45 – 4:45 PM, Session 15B, Room 25

Meet the Author Journals of Muslim Women

2:30 – 3:30 PM
Session 14J
Room 33

• Sophia’s Journal, Najiyah Diana Maxfield
• Joy Jots, Tamara Gray
• My Accidental Jihad: A Love Story, Krista Bremer

Moderator: Aisha Al-Adawiya

ISNA Panel: Finding Islam: Stories of American Muslim Converts

The American Muslim story is often related from the immigrant or second-generation
perspective, but often missing from this narrative are the stories of people whose journeys
to Islam didn’t begin in their homes or with their families. In this session, panelists
will share the diversity of the American Muslim convert experience and its long standing
history in this country.

Speaker: Calara Hardin, Edgar Hopida, Ingrid Mattson,

Ubaydullah Evans

2:30 – 3:30 PM
Session 14G
Room 30

The Bilal Initiative – Conversations about Race and Prejudice in Muslim America

2:30 – 3:30 PM
Session 14B
Room 9 – 10

The purpose of the Bilal Initiative is to reclaim the multi-generational, multicultural and
women-friendly ethos that seemed to be manifested in the early Muslim community as a
result of the leadership of Prophet Muhammad (saw). Aside from the inclusiveness noted
above, hadiths leave us a picture of a community that was characterized by open discussion
of differences based on age, race and gender. In addition, it is clear an assertive posture
was taken by the Prophet (saw), aimed at resolving such issues for the community. Unfortunately,
it appears that Muslims in the world today have abandoned these core values
as manifested in Prophet Muhammad’s (saw) community. Therefore, this Bilal Initiative
is conceived as one way to reclaim these important aspects of our collective heritage by
fostering open, honest, respectful community dialog for developing a more just and compassionate
Muslim America.

Speakers: Altaf Husain, Roula Allouch, Dawud Walid, Jimmy Jones

Moderator: Nadia Hassan

Zaytuna College’s Path to Accreditation

12:15 – 1:15 PM
Session 13D
Room 26

In 1996, Zaytuna Institute was founded to educate the Muslim public about the texts and
traditions of Islam. The Institute evolved from community organization to seminary to undergraduate
liberal arts college in 2003 and 2009, respectively. In 2015, Zaytuna became the
first undergraduate Muslim college to be accredited in the United States, moving from the
stages of “eligibility” to “initial accreditation” in record time. A key aspect of accreditation
is a process of self-assessment, which Zaytuna has embraced as an integral part of Muslim
practice. Come hear the story of this historic success from Zaytuna’s founders, faculty, and
executive team, and engage them on their long-term vision for Muslim education in America.

Speakers: Colleen Keyes, Hatem Bazian, Zaid Shakir, Mahan Mirza

Moderator: Sumaira Akhtar

The Muslim Narrative: How to Make Your Personal Voice Public

In this interactive and dynamic session, participants will be offered practical and efficient
tools that Muslims can implement towards projecting their narrative from a top down
approach through career choice, education, media engagement and community outreach.
Speakers: Michael Wolfe, Wajahat Ali, Zainab Khan, Mustafa Davis

Moderator: Hamid Rezapour

12:15 – 1:15 PM
Session 13B
Room 9 – 10

Saturday Night Special Session Stories of Resilience: Strengthening the American Muslim Narrative

This year’s convention theme is designed to highlight the different challenges facing American
Muslims today and the critical need to shape the Muslim community. All around the
world and throughout, from trials and tribulations of oppressed minorities to the private
inner struggles of everyday people, are many stories of human resilience to reflect on and
learn from.

In the Quran, Allah says, “We do relate unto thee the most beautiful of stories, in that We reveal
to thee this (portion of the) Qur’an: before this, thou too was among those who knew it not.”(Surah
Yusuf, Verse 3).

What are those stories of resilience? How to best shape and share them? What are some of
the lessons of resilience from which Muslims can learn?

Special Guests: Ilyasah Shabazz, Tawakkol Karman, Mohamed Soltan
Speakers: Azhar Azeez, Suhaib Webb, Omar Suleiman, Yasir Qadhi,
Nouman Ali Khan

Moderator: Osama Idlibi

8:00 – 11:00 pm
Session 10
Hall A

Open Dialogue: Learning from our Nation’s History

Fifty years ago, President Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which grew out of
decades of resistance to the segregation and discrimination that restricted the lives of numerous
citizens in the United States. Islam has always been a strong proponent of equality
for every human being. Minorities have a strong will and character due in great part to
the struggles they have encountered in their everyday lives. This open forum will address
worldwide racism, gender discrimination, and faith discrimination, and ways in which MSA
and ISNA have contributed positively to combating these issues.
Speakers: Dalia Mogahed, Keith Ellison, Nihad Awad,
Laila Muhammad, John Esposito, Siraj Wahhaj

Moderator: Ihsan Bagby

6:00 – 7:15 PM
Session 9
Hall A

Meet the Author: Sayyiduna Muhammad’s Legacy

• Revelation, Meraj Mohiuddin
• Misquoting Muhammad, Jonathan Brown
• The Covenants and the Six Covenants of the Prophet Muhammad, John Andrew Morrow

Moderator: Shakeel Syed

4:45 – 5:45 PM
Session 8K
Room 33

Latino Muslims in Chicago

Islam has followers in the Latino community in Chicago, but they many times do not
openly express themselves. We will explore this situation and share stories about the Latino
Muslim community.

Speakers: Abel Muhammad, Jorge Mujica

Moderator: Edmund Arroyo

4:45 – 5:45 PM, Session 8J, Room 7

ISNA Panel: Community Faith Leaders: Compassion, Fatigue and Resiliency

The purpose of this session will be for mental health providers and community faith leaders
to help identify and understand what specific current mental health distress and challenges
that are faced by Muslim community faith leaders, and to determine what resilience factors
that are commonly used by faith leaders when distressed.

Speakers: Farha Abbasi, Reham Gassas, Hassan Lachheb,
Mohamed Magid Ali

Moderator: Tarek El-Messidi

4:45 – 5:45 PM, Session 8H, Room 31

pg. 11

Countering the Narrative: Community Responses to CVE

A panel discussion featuring the voices of Muslim Americans from diverse backgrounds and approaches to countering violent extremism. Panelists will also address the CVE (Countering
Violent Extremism) Pilot Programs as they are being implemented at the community
level. A national perspective will also be provided.

Speakers: Margari Hill, Jaylani Hussein, Yusufi Vali, Michael German

Moderator: Corey Saylor

4:45 – 5:45 PM, Session 8C, Room 25

pg. 10 of ISNA Program

ISNA Panel: Exploring the Parallels of Islam and America’s Labor Movement

The panel will acknowledge Islam as a social activism religion that was based on the principles of empowering the poor, taking care of those with less and uniting in a struggle for a better life for all. These principles are also at the center of America’s Labor Movement. Through this discussion, we hope to educate participants about the importance of social activism, the history and message of the labor movement, and how Muslims young and old can engage with labor to enact change.
Speakers: Linda Sarsour, Maimuna Syed, Keith Ellison

Moderator: Abdul-Basit Haqq

3:30 – 4:30 PM, Session 7B, Room 9 – 10

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Sakeenah: Celebrating Goodness: Imam Siraj Wahhaj

Over twenty five years ago, a dynamic generation of African-American Azhar graduates came back home all ready to inspire the Muslims in North America with the richness of knowledge that they had gained. They were the first Americans to go overseas in pursuit of sacred knowledge, and the last echelon to have had the unique privilege to study with the late, eminent scholar of our era, Dr. Suleiman Dunya (1407/1987). When they returned home, and as direly as the community needed them, the masses did not have the lexicon to understand their noble message—nearly two decades before any American pontiff started talking about a “sacred tradition.” However, none could have had any success without fifteen years of Imam Siraj Wahhaj going around the MYNA camps, igniting the imagination of young people, creating a yearning in their hearts for something more, preparing the soil for the seeds of blessed scholarship that would change their lives.
Long before “traditional” sacred sciences captured the imagination of a generation, imam Siraj was inspiring people to know themselves through the profound simplicity of Islam. 
Few—(if any)—servants of sacred knowledge have the right to be called 'imam' in our day. Siraj Wahhaj is an imam in charity; an imam of bridge building between people; an imam in the way that he is a visionary; in the way that he is
a man. 
Siraj Wahhaj paved the road for all of us to build on. He has always encouraged people to strive for a higher level of competence. All of that will, we pray, sprout into eternal fruits of radiance for him wherever he is. Siraj Wahhaj is the voice of the spirit of Islam in America and its pride. 
See more at:

Dr. Usaama al-Azami: ISIS, Slavery, and Islamic Abolitionism

Monday, August 31, 2015

Racism & Islam - Shaykh Abdullah bin Hamid Ali
Shaykh Abdullah bin Hamid Ali tackles a difficult topic in this discourse: “Racism & Islam”. In this lecture delivered at Temple University in Philadelphia, Pa, Shaykh Abdullah challenges us to think outside of the normative constructs of ‘racism’ and to consider reconstructing how we perceive ‘race’ itself.