Ashura: A Parable for Islamic Activists
Ashura is the date of two important events in Islamic history: the freeing of the Bani Israel from the oppression of the Pharaoh, and the martyrdom of Imam Hussain. Both of these stories give Muslims lessons in how to fight oppression, while simultaneously basing our activism against oppression on an Islamic epistemic.
The Effect of Fasting on Sleeping: Tips on Sleeping Well for a Better Ramadan
The disruptive effects of Ramadan on our sleep pattern are well-known. Short-term spiritual adrenaline alone may help mitigate the effects briefly, but typically it is followed by a crash of fatigue, often at the times we want to be increasing our spiritual efforts. Persevering throughout the month requires us to take notice of our body’s needs so it can serve our spiritual needs better. Just as we should pay attention to when and how we consume in the month, we need to do the same with our sleep.
Studying Arabic at the Al-Madina Suhba Program
We are studying this language, selected by Allaah to be the means of communication of His final message, together as a family. We get to go home and practice together. We get to share insights from what we’ve learned and we get to do this with people and families from across the world that are all dedicated to internal change and emulation of the prophetic legacy in action and in speech.
Why We Should Support Muslim Fiction
Imagine growing up in a society where, throughout your childhood, the people you found most interesting, exciting, down-to-earth, and real (even if fictional), were almost never Muslim. When young people observe that there is no room for someone like them in the stories they love best, they begin to disassociate themselves from that marginalized identity.
Mystical Dimensions of Being a Mom
Our time is increasingly filled with the preoccupations of, well, occupations. And smart phones, social media, food, and endless to-do lists.
And, for some of us, children. Many who develop spiritual interests while young are challenged by how to maintain that desire once we become parents. Mothers in particular face a tremendous struggle. Keeping focused in salah, or sometimes even praying salah itself, becomes a tricky accomplishment in the presence of a nursing newborn, a rambunctious toddler, or bickering siblings. Our souls continuously gasp for a sliver of private time for spiritual practice: Is there childcare at the conference? At jum‘ah prayer? At taraweeh? Maybe daily Qur’an-time occurs via mini-van speakers before the afterschool carpool, if it even occurs at all. Our ‘ibada becomes chicken dinners, budget-friendly grocery lists, or just keeping our heads above water as we juggle laundry, career, and family. But these things are not small. When done for Allah’s sake by either parent, they are all truly ‘ibāda. Still, Allah’s beloved messenger ﷺ taught us that Paradise is at a mother’s feet.1
But what about the mother who feels an urgent tug within – a deeper spiritual calling?
Confessions of a Shaikh’s Wife Part 2: The Pedestal & the Pulpit
As students of Islamic knowledge return home to the West, they find themselves having to draw a fine balance between the pedestal and the pulpit; between seeking popularity, with all its spiritual risks, as a means of forwarding their own efforts in dawah, and serving the community in a more traditional capacity, with all the frustrations and indignities those positions commonly hold.
Confessions of a Shaikh’s Wife Part 1: What Makes the Man
I never thought that I’d be a shaikh’s wife. Somehow, even though I grew up with a passion for studying Islam, and made sure to marry someone who had that too, I never pictured myself getting married to be known as the ‘wife of Shaikh So and so.’
As I reminisce on the years studying abroad, I can say that some of the women that I met and with whom I had the blessing of sharing time with had something of the spirit, the strength, and the light of our righteous predecessors. These women that we overlook in the masjid, often not even bothering to learn their names, known simply as “Wife of Shaikh X”, or “Imam Saab’s first wife” are some of the warriors in our ranks, who, if they did not sacrifice years of their life to be a source of nourishment for their husband and a pillar by his side, would perhaps be in the forefront of our community in any one of a number of roles. Instead, her journey, her sacrifices, and her struggles are often unknown to anyone except Allah, and that quiet sisterhood of others who have been through the same experience.
History, Memory and Our Collective Story(ies)
As we continue to debate the future of the American Muslim story, especially at this critical juncture, we must first realize that simply throwing around buzz-words like “narrative” and “storytelling” will not be enough. We need a systematic and focused effort to record, examine, and share the many facets of the collective American Muslim story(ies). This is more critical today than ever as Islam and Muslims are misrepresented, vilified and marginalized on a daily basis. We can only expect this trend to intensify in the days ahead. A confident, forward-looking American Muslim vision will have to invest in such an effort to discredit this rampant misrepresentation.
Acting Prophetically in a Trumpian America
In a new America under the governance of Donald Trump, demands for our mosques to act in the public arena — from both our community members who are legitimately feeling great pressure, and our allies who want to support us — are likely to intensify. In this context, our leadership must ask this question daily: what does a Prophetic imagination of public action look like for mosques in this moment?
Advancing the Conversation on CVE
There is a lack of clarity in American Muslim discussion as to what CVE is. I put forth a definition and description of CVE as a concept to inform and inject greater clarity into American Muslim community conversations on the topic, so communities are making better informed decisions by hearing from more than one particular narrative.
Position & Placement: The First 24 Hours After The Tazkiyah Retreat, Again
Wandering Seventh Avenue, looking for a sign, I sought natural beauty, a reminder of the Divine. I was a commoner searching for the artist through His art. But where was I less than 24 hours from the Tazkiyah Retreat that I needed something in His creation to remind me of Him? Whenever is He absent?
How Islam Builds Grit: Imam al-Haddad on Remembrance and Regular Devotions
Character strengthens the Muslim’s spiritual life. In Islam, the circle acts as a constant metaphor: just as character builds one’s Islam, so does Islam build character. And of character, Islam - practiced with the same deliberation and integrity of action portrayed by Imam al-Haddad - builds grit.
I was never raised to think about me, me, me. But in a world that has become so prevalent with tragedies, in a world where those who claim to be of my faith begin to terrorize for reasons I cannot even begin to fathom, I have begun to use “I” more and more. More, because I now feel as if I am being watched. Feel as if whatever I say is being scrutinized, whatever I wear is being judged, whatever I do is being tallied. Of the billions of Muslims in the world, I have begun to focus on I.
The First 24 Hours: Leaving the Tazkiyah Retreat
I left home at an early age. I remember the others kids around me; they cried the first night. I didn’t. Though calm on the outside, I felt a gaping hole inside me that eventually went away as I adjusted to my new reality. Nearly 30 years later, I felt that way again for the just the second time.
Earth Hour: Use Your Power
Every day we hear about the plight of our planet Earth. Most of us feel helpless; either we don’t see the relevance given our privileged lives, or, on the other hand, we make pledges that we often don’t really follow through with. Perhaps it is time to start small and be resolved. At 8.30 pm on Saturday the 29th of March 2014, hundreds of millions of people across the globe will switch off the lights in homes and businesses for one hour – Earth Hour. This hour is the world’s largest unified public environmental action, acknowledging how each of us can take deliberate action to benefit the planet in the year ahead.
We are different in our makeup, different in our experiences. It is impossible to conceive of a world in which we are all alike. For a person of faith, this plurality is deliberate, not simply an accident. It is part of the Divine plan and its purpose is to get humanity together to collaborate and live together, not be apart and divisive.