An Answer to ‘Should Muslims Support Black Lives Matter?’
Protests have swept across the streets of America regarding the need for new policing measures after the brutal murder of George Floyd by officers of the Minneapolis Police Department. Indeed, the cries of Americans of varying racial and ethnic backgrounds reside in the reality that Floyd is but one of countless Black people who have been killed while unarmed by law enforcement.
Chivalry as a Basis of Muslim Manhood
With so many secular based frames from the Right and the Left about what does and does not constitute a healthy expression of manhood, it is important for Muslims in the West to be grounded in the Islamic tradition about what constitutes healthy manhood while not taking others’ entire paradigms as our own.
Sayyidah Nafisah: The Saintly Lady of Egypt
Often underdiscussed among Muslim circles in the West are the righteous and scholarly women among the pious early Muslims. Out of the many other stellar women from early Islamic history worthy of mention, Sayyidah Nafisah (may Allah be pleased with her), already adored by millions of Egypt, was a shining star that should be known by all.
Revisiting the Reality of Manhood
Manhood is helping to build institutions that do not alienate women from their God given rights per sacred law and to stand for their rights that were conferred by sacred law. If this manhood is not present in our community as we’d like it to be, the solution is to support Prophetic manhood that brings balance to the society and serves our community including womenfolk and children.
Al-Mahdi and the End of Times as Explained by Uthman dan Fodio
The inevitability of the end of times, just like death, should not be a source of grief for Muslims. As we should know the signs of the coming of Imam al-Mahdi, it is also important for us to strive to be those of faith and justice so that if we live to see his appearance, he will recognize us to be among his followers.
Reflections On Visiting Ghana
Muslims in America need to visit West Africa. The roots of Islam in America come from those who were walked in the hot sun in chains over Benin, the Ivory Coast and Togo to Elmina Slave Castle and brought to America. My trip to Ghana coincided with Black History Month, carrying extra meaning for myself, considering the struggle that African Americans continue to endure in reclaiming our heritage, a heritage that was robbed from us.
Reflections on My Recent Hajj and Ziyarah to al-Madinah
For every pilgrim, going to Hajj and making visitation to al-Madinah al-Munawwarah are both communal experiences as well as deeply personal. Though this year was not my first pilgrimage, it contained a set of different experiences and lessons for myself yet had the familiar. I’d like to share a few aspects of my journey with you with the hope that these can bring some benefit beyond my personal self.
Imam Ja’far as-Sadiq on al-Futuwwa
There is a saying in post-modern America that “chivalry isn’t dead” which is an acknowledgment that though there is an understanding that traditional moral codes and rites of passage have waned, they are not yet extinct. With that said, Islamic civilization has always held chivalry to be praiseworthy going back to the Pious Predecessors until today.
Turning Back the Tide of Leftist Influences: Part 2
Turning back the tide of leftist influences does not mean not working with leftists at all. Working with them without violating normative creed, Islamic manners and modesty (al-hayaa) should be done per the Prophetic example, however, and not upon their terms.
The Prophet (prayers and peace be upon him & his family) in essence told his companions that for a social justice issue that is congruent with Islam, it is noble to work with others including polytheists. Working together on a cause, however, never meant to the companions that those who could be partnered with must have their beliefs, lifestyles and language affirmed in the process.
Turning Back the Tide of Leftist Influences: Part 1
As a consequence of the perception that the Left provides more of a socio-political safe space, some within the community have absorbed much of the sensibilities and moral relativism of the Left. This is the time for those who firmly adhere to Islamic tradition to have moral courage in the face of a leftist intolerance that seeks to shut down debate or introduce heterodox ideas among Muslims in the name of plurality.
Having A Healthy Appreciation for Islamic Scholars
Many American Muslims have been recently engaged in conversations about the relationship between activists and traditionally trained Islamic scholars. Though there have been stellar individuals who fall into the camp of qualified activist scholars or shuyookh, these have historically been exceptions more so than what has been predominant. In dealing with the reality in which we currently live in today, there are some fundamental aspects relating to adab (etiquettes) of engagement and critique in which laymen, including activists, should have with scholars.
Uthman Dan Fodio: One of the Shining Stars of West Africa
One of the hidden treasures within the Muslim world is West Africa. In it contains a rich history of Muslim empires, arts and culture as well as resistance to colonialism. As these are aspects of Islamic civilization in West Africa that are unknown to many non-sub Saharan Africans, equally unknown is the rich history of Islamic scholarship in West Africa which continues to inspire the faithful today. Shaykh Uthman bin Fodio al-Fulani (may Allah sanctify his spirit), also known as Shehu Uthman dan Fodio, is one of those stars in the constellation in the history of Islamic scholarship in West Africa.
"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.
Three Suggestions in the Wake of the Presidency of Donald Trump
Donald Trump is President-elect of the United States of America. Many are celebrating the symbolism of America having a White male conservative as the next Commander in Chief as well as breathing a sigh of relief that Hillary Clinton will not be in the Oval Office in 2017. Others, however, are upset that Trump won, believing that Trump will usher in a historic low which America has never seen. Within this framework coming off of the most divisive presidential election cycle since the turbulent year of 1968, the socio-political divide in America probably will not mend anytime soon.
Given that we truly do not know where America is heading though there are forecasts which can be made, I offer three piece of advice for American Muslim.
Activism Should Mirror Prophetic Etiquettes: Part 2
American Muslims activists must be extremely careful not to get swept away in the current sea of populism which has produced unsavory actions. Constant re-anchoring in what is and what is not Prophetic character is a means of safety from being washed away.
Prophetic Manners in Light of the #BlackLivesMatter Movement
One can be concerned about Black lives and be a non-Black person who centers the importance of Black lives and Black leadership within the police accountability movement without agreeing with all of the platform and tactics of the non-profit organization which is seen as a movement. There is no one organization or set of strategies that has a monopoly on addressing Black suffering within the African American community.
As a Black man, I do not see any one way of being Black nor do I see only one way for non-Blacks to be allies in the struggle against Black suffering. Non-Black Muslims can march or not march, join boycotts, call congressmen to demand congressional hearings and stronger accountability for police brutality to joining forums regarding policing on the local level. What is paramount is that the engagement be done based upon Prophetic parameters, not blameworthy standard of the ends justifying the means which runs counter to the Qur’an and the Prophetic Sunnah.
Rectifying Our Hearts to What is Right
What made Muhammad Ali (may Allah forgive and have mercy upon him) such a beloved figured to hundreds of millions of people worldwide was not simply his boxing skills and eloquence before he had Parkinson’s disease. Ali reflected values which are intrinsic in all humans—to incline towards justice over injustice and to sympathize with the oppressed over the oppressor.
Activism Should Mirror Prophetic Etiquettes
There has been a surge in social justice activism, but also a rise of infighting within Muslim activist circles. Giving one another the benefit of the doubt and keeping space in the hearts to pardon each other’s shortcomings are Prophetic characteristics and should be part of this activism.
Why Centering Muslims Who Were 'Black' in Early Islamic History Matters
Many Muslims who are Black have been made to feel as if black people don't have real interpretative authority within Islam or can speak on behalf of our faith. This in part may be due to an unconscious omission to even deliberate white-washing of the early period of Islamic civilization.