Faith & Spirituality

24 May 2017

“Like the Full Moon”: The Law & Spirit of Moonsighting

My wife’s eyes tear with talk of sighting the moon. My young daughters can’t wait for the thrill of it. My elder daughters feign a je-ne-sais-pas teenage indifference but the twinkle in their eyes tells another tale. I can’t believe how such a thin slice in space binds hearts together in such longing. These days, we can’t imagine a Ramadan without heading out to sight the moon.

19 May 2017

Light Upon Light: A Journey Through the Qur'an Into the Reality of Salawat

Many explanations have been offered for the word ṣalāwāt, such as to exalt, to praise, to bestow mercy on, to bless, to forgive. Through an investigation of several verses of the Qurʾān, and drawing upon the ḥadīth and the insight of several great imams culled from an array of rare and precious sources, a clearer explanation is offered linking the word ṣalawāt to light.

26 April 2017

What Is Power For?

One must first be woke in terms of their own self. Imam ar-Raghib al-Isfahanī mentions in his text on Islamic ethics that the enemies of mankind are four: ego, whim, demonic, and worldly. Unless we understand how to battle the first three, we will continue to experience deterioration of our worldly status. Indeed, the world is the way it is as a result of how well we are doing in our battles against the first three enemies. It is an apparent manifestation of events that take place in the unseen world.

20 February 2017

More Than A Headscarf: How Hijab Has Lost Its Soul

We must reaffirm hijab as a religious, spiritual practice — not merely a personal, social, cultural or political statement, and reconnect it with a vibrant inner spirituality. In a time when disciplined religious practice is considered nothing more than mindless ritual, we must also reaffirm the link between our spiritual state and deference to the guidelines and rules of our religion, and reconnect what we wear to our faith.

In our times, we have reduced hijab to a headscarf that serves as a badge of one’s Muslim identity, and have removed it from a larger understanding of haya’ and how this beautiful quality should cultivate our behavior in the public sphere and in our relationships with others.

The trend of hijab/hijabi fashion in particular has, in many ways, effectively divorced haya’ from hijab. The hijabi fashion trend has also taken no strides to changing spiritually unhealthy cultural norms, or to recasting definitions of beauty and a woman’s worth. Instead, in many cases, it has simply put a headscarf on mainstream fashion with all of its failings, including an extremely narrow and exploitative view of beauty and sexuality

25 January 2017

We Are All Tested

Yes, we are all tested in different ways. But that doesn’t mean that the differences in our tests should make us less empathetic to the plight of others. We may think that Syria needs us, but the reality is — we need Syria. This is one test we all must learn from and face together.

23 January 2017

Translating Love With the Burdah: Mostafa Azzam

Mostafa Azzam is the author of the first ever singable English translation of the Burdah, Imam Busiri's classic poem in praise of the Prophet ﷺ. He graciously granted an interview with ImanWire to discuss the book and its significance and his reflections on the project.

6 January 2017

The 40 American Hadith: Focus on the Process, Not the Results

Islam is not a race or a marathon. It’s a way of living prescribed by the Creator, as demonstrated by the Prophet ﷺ. There is an intended balance that ought to be struck between immediate repentance and living to fight another day.

4 January 2017

"Welcome Back Home": Lessons From My Recent Rihlah to Senegal

The old tradition of visiting scholars in other lands and interacting with Muslims in faraway places is a practice that needs more attention among Muslims in the West. For the children of enslaved Africans in particular, traveling back to Africa, hearing our people such as Senegalese say “Welcome back home” and breathing the air of Islamic tradition from there is a type of medicine for our wounded souls.

22 December 2016

Remembering the Greatest Day

Many of us are deeply shaken by the bloodshed and violence meted out against innocent people in the world. We see images and hear the stories of — among so many others — the ethnic cleansing of the Rohingya in Burma, the calculated starvation of the people of Yemen, brutality against black lives in our very own country, and in Syria, again and again, a people attacked by nations that have, as the Prophetic tradition so accurately described, “gathered against them just as people gather around a feast."

God reminds us of the great day we will all come to witness, a when the test of this life, with its painful trials and challenges, its triumphs and heavy tragedies, will come to a halt and everything within it will come to an end.

To intensely remember that greatest day - the realest day – is a source of grounding and solace. It is the day of ultimate justice and judgment, in which all those in positions of power will be uprooted. The day in which all the systems that perpetuate injustice will be broken, and all the chains of command will be cut. Might, military or otherwise, will be humbled low, and plots and strategies will be cast off.

We take comfort in knowing that God is the perfectly just, to Whom all affairs return. As we love Him for His promise of heavenly reward for the righteous, so too do we love Him for His promise to justly deal with those who harm and oppress.

19 December 2016

Love Meeting God and He Will Love Meeting You

When we come to Salah, where are we going? We’re supposed to be going to whom? To Allah – to liqā Allah (meeting Allah) in Salah. So if in that walk or drive or coming to Salah we are not energized in this way, if we come for the wrong reasons and we come lazy and bored, then that’s a sign that Allah is not desiring us because of the way we are. But if when we come to Salah we find our hearts desirous, going forward emotionally, elated, and expanded – and if we’re not in a hurry in Salah to leave – then that’s a sign inshallah that Allah loves to be with us.

14 December 2016

What We Can Do For Aleppo

Over the past five years many of us have been struggling to make sense of the carnage we see in Syria. In the past two days alone those feelings have been intensified as we witness children, women and men suffer in ways we wouldn't wish upon our worst enemy. Each one of us can help in being a spiritual and material conduit of aide to our brothers and sisters in Syria by doing the following.

30 November 2016

Footprints: How Mentoring Shapes Knowledge

Few seek, and yet fewer find a mentor that through mastery and gentle patience can take them by the hand and assist them in not only in finding faith, but finding themselves.