Riad Saloojee

Riad Saloojee graduated and taught in an Islamic seminary in Cape Town, South Africa. He is a lawyer by training and worked in the field of civil rights advocacy. Currently, he teaches and translates, and is the oldest student of a Qur'an memorization institute trying desperately to keep up with his more youthful peers. Pray for him.

ARTICLES

22 June 2020

Racism’s Suffocation of the Human Spirit

I can’t breathe. George Floyd’s last words, conveying, verbatim, Eric Garner’s last words, with echoes through a long chain of souls – Breonna Taylor, Michael Brown, Walter Scott, Freddie Grey, Jamar Clark, Alton Sterling, Stephon Clark and Botham Jean – is a testamentary call that should pierce every Muslim’s mind and heart.

22 April 2020

Ten Tombstones of Ramadans Past

Has fasting [fill in number] Ramaḍāns in my life changed me? If not, why? The answers to these twin questions are my most important pre-Ramaḍān preparation.

13 April 2020

Crucible of Change

A public intellectual recently wrote that we are all living, through the coronavirus tribulation, a pandemic of death’s dominion. Are we?

23 March 2020

The Ailment's Elixir

Is the coronavirus, in its deeper spiritual reality, a reflection of all we have crowned in our lives apart from Him? Is it not a message from Him to me? Is He not constricting through it every passageway, except the pathway to Him? If I cannot reach the Divine’s door now, in this trial, then when?

20 December 2017

After Rabiul Awwal: The Springtime of Our Hearts

Even as the celebrations of the Month of First Spring, Rabiul Awwal, inevitably pass, Allah has ensured that his ﷺ merciful-love will forever remain. For there is no end to the first spring. After Rabiul Awwal comes Rabiul Thani — the second spring. The first spring is his ﷺ birth into this world; the second is his birth into your heart.

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.

For a Canadian with no sighting tradition that came to study in Cape Town, our experience of the momentous entry of Ramadan is demoted down to a culture of complete dependence on a pronouncement, that cannot compare in the slightest with the fresh elation born out of communal anticipation and, yes, uncertainty in seeing or not seeing the moon.

In giving primacy to pure calculation in a bid to stave off uncertainty as we see it, reduce difficulty as we understand it, and integrate into a dominant culture as we perceive it, have we not lost the spirit of awe or joy intended by the words of the Messenger ﷺ?​

We gather, in palpable anticipation for the delicate crescent to appear in the early twilight sky. And when it does – when it is seen floating in a sky above an endless horizon of ocean – there are ripples and waves of awe and jubilation. It is impossible to be unaffected. It appears in the sky like a dream. It’s not there, and then, there, a gift to sore eyes and sore hearts, some who have been waiting a full year for it and all that it brings. Indeed, it is a dream of Divine grace, when hearts tremble and all words fail. All words, that is, except the Prophet's ﷺ – words to express the letter and spirit of sighting so truly that they voice the tremors of every heart when it sees the crescent in natural, delicate splendour: "O Allah, let it rise over us with goodness and faith, and peace and security and loving surrender. My Lord and yours is Allah."

Allah, Allah! Blessed Ramadan, filled with awe and joy, my dearest brothers and sisters.

21 June 2016

Full Moon

They saw you and they fell in love

Their hearts a-flight, they soared above

I missed the chance to see your face

My soul, my heart, roams out-of-place

8 April 2016

Seeing Divine Secrets Through the Sea

The sea has confided in children secrets from the Divine that I won’t be able to intellectualize – but secrets that would set me free.

2 March 2016

Modernity, Mindfulness & Divine-Mindfulness

Muslims should not be uncritical in accepting mindfulness meditation as yet another attempt to treat the spiritual void generated by secular materialism. For all its perceived benefits, mindfulness remains a fast-food solution to the spiritual hunger of our times. It is a proverbial doughnut that satiates symptoms but does not address root malnutrition. Mindfulness is very much an integral part of Islamic spirituality, but with a profound difference: Islam prescribes Divine-mindfulness.

19 January 2016

Between the Sea and the Cemetery

They would repeat His words, “And how many signs in the heavens and earth do they pass by while turning away?” then say to me: Ready your sails now; for soon, your sea will also be still.

17 April 2014

Bedtime Stories With Prophet Jesus

It is bedtime. My two children get to each choose a story. Recently, they keep choosing the story of 'Isa (alayhi salam). Again and again. I keep wondering, why do they want it time and time again?

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