Tag Archives: Islam

Islam, The Female Scholar and Tradition


ramadan_2012_17-350x245There are prevailing misconceptions within Christian communities that Muslims hate Christians and that women are oppressed by Islamic teachings. It is widely reinforced by many Christian leaders. The most profound revelation was the reality of their limited interest in understanding beyond their perceptions and preconceived notions.

They see Muslims as monolithic. We are only Shia or Sunni and if we even divert from their perceived “oppressive,” “hate filled” and “violent,” understanding of Islam, we must be Sufi; completely misunderstanding our schools of thought, diversity within our communities and relevance in modern society. They miss the multitude of complexity and individuality within Islam.

In Islam we have no hierarchy of clergy. There are scholars of different scopes, from social policy, language, history, law and interpretation. There is no governing body of Muslims. There is a tradition of personal responsibility and individual commitment to scholarship. There are schools of thought and their proponents. In that sense, many Muslims will follow a school of thought which closely resembles their scholarship and others also follow proponents of those schools of thought.

The Islamic orthodoxy of law is quite vast and versatile, although there are hindrances to that versatility. There are issues that have led to some scholars blindly following certain fixed schools of thought, and in turn to the subjugation of religious values to popular culture; thus our current dilemma/dichotomy.

“Indeed, the worst of living creatures in the sight of Allah are the deaf and dumb who do not use reason.” (Quran 8:22)

In many patriarchal societies the role of the woman Imam or scholar is limited to preaching and teaching other women, regardless of the core of Islamic teaching that men and women are equal and both are teachers of Islam to each other.

Since immigrants are still the major stakeholders in the Mosques, most mosques have not had a female board member, executive director and have never had a woman scholar or preacher speak to the community.

This perspective of patriarchy does not reflect on the teachings of Islam. It reflects on the cultural factors of a society and within what have become socially acceptable norms.

“The believing men and women are patrons of each other. They command to good, rebuke evil, establish prayers, give alms, obeying God and His messenger. They will have God’s mercy. Indeed God is Mighty and Wise.” (Qur’an, 9:71)

This verse, like many others, puts men and women on equal footing regarding the practice of religion. It is especially significant because its linguistics equates men and women working together in preaching.

Early Islamic leaders recognized the importance of women in society as leaders and reformers in a time when women in the world were seen as of little significance, Islam gave women a voice and rights.

“Back in the days of ignorance before Islam, we didn’t consider women of much significance at all. This all changed with the emergence of Islam in which God mentioned them with respect and gave them new rights then we realized their rights over us.” (Sahih al-Bukhari, 5843)

“Sometimes we the companions of Muhammad would get confused about Islamic teachings. We would then go and ask Aisha about itand we found she always had the knowledge we were seeking in it.” (Jami` at-Tirmidhi, 3883)

“I never saw anyone more knowledgeable of the Qur’an, Islamic Law, poetry, Arab history and lineages than Aisha  (may God be pleased with her).” (Al-Hakim, 4/11)jewelofmedina460

Aisha being a great female scholar of Islam, wife of the prophet and religious leader in her own right even after his death, spoke to, counseled and was the influence to many of the Caliphs which were to follow.

Female scholars were the teachers of the male scholars and leaders of Islam in Islamic history.

The exceptional women of Islam are too numerous to name. Aisha, daughter of Abu Bakr is only one of many. Zainab bint Kamal taught hadiths in the 12th century. Umm al-Darda became a teacher of hadith and fiqh and lectured in the men’s section. One of her students was the caliph of Damascus. The Prophet taught that there is no difference in worth between believers on account of their gender.

The gross violations of women’s rights in the Muslim world today, relegating the Muslim woman only to the role of a mother and housewife is a relatively modern phenomenon. In early Islam women were the driving force in the formation of Islamic history. Fatimah supported the prophet and was his counsel. Aisha Led an Army.

In the religion of Islam, there is no original sin. Men and women bear equal responsibility. Many traditions have grown weak and women have been relegated in patriarchal societies to second class citizens, contrary to the core teachings of Islam, with cultural norms overtaking the religious teachings of Islamic tradition and the female role in Islam in many cultures.

Women scholars spent their lives in pursuit of historical facts. Historical criticism is a fundamental principle in Islam.

The Qur’an requires

“O believers! If any iniquitous person comes to you with a slanderous tale, verify it, lest you hurt people unwittingly…” (49:6)

Many Muslims have strayed from scholarly tradition and have become used to certain ways of dealing; that does not mean that our traditional sources of law are not relevant in modern society. These traditions to include the female scholar are better suited for modern society and helping to identify in regard to social issues.

It is important not to judge Islam by the state of nationalist and conservative mindsets refusing to proceed with the progressive and forward thinking nature of Islam. The religious doctrine does not support the cultural norms of these nationalists. The religion of Islam is much bigger than that. There are generations who laid the foundation of modern civilization.

Islam is more than capable of addressing and resolving many contemporary issues. There is an obligation within Islam to provide the tools and a setting to address issues like racism, misogyny and oppression that have been lost on those who refuse to remain relevant.

To address the question for Christians about where Islam and Muslims stand on Christianity; there is only to look at the Quran, the words and mandates of the prophet Muhammad for answers.

Muhammad saw Christians as part of our community, our people, to be allowed freedom of religion and protection from oppression and religious suppression as evidenced in his writings and promises to Christian communities.

The Quran expresses religious unity between Jews, Muslims and Christians as one community with many paths to the same destinations and refers to Jews, Muslims and Christians as “the believers.”

“Indeed, those who believed and those who were Jews or Christians or Sabeans [before Prophet Muhammad] – those [among them] who believed in Allah and the Last Day and did righteousness – will have their reward with their Lord, and no fear will there be concerning them, nor will they grieve.” (Quran 2:62)

Preachers who teach falsehoods of a dubious nature to subvert pluralism and unity will lead their followers astray and thrive on sectarianism. A thinking population is always dangerous to the status quo. A religion that was only devised to control and cheat people would never expose religious preachers like this, for it would be against their very interests,

“And they (the common people) will say: O our Sustainer! Behold, we paid heed unto our leaders and our great men, and it is they who have led us astray from the right path!” (Quran, 33:67)

Islam teaches Muslims to be free and critical thinkers, to question everything and then question it again.

The Quran tells Muslims to think for themselves, to uphold justice, to speak up and speak out against injustice and oppression.

The Quran expresses the need for social justice and the mandate in fighting oppression. Islam is not a religion that only gives you dogma to follow blindly, in return for some grand reward of paradise. Instead it expects one to use intellect and resourcefulness to help those less fortunate and vulnerable in society and to do all this in the pursuit of justice.

The Quran establishes that faith is only the beginning on the path. It isn’t the end of the journey. And on that journey are men and women on equal stance.

Contrary to popular belief, women are not subjugated by Islam, they are empowered by it. They have played an important part from the beginning, as teachers, preachers, warriors and leaders.

Research can present women with confidence in their role in Islam, while some are confined to their homes because of cultural norms others are vying for and fighting for leadership  throughout the Muslim world.

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Salvation and Mercy


I sit in the shadows watching as an old priest in orthodox tradition, giving the liturgy in Arabic…talking about salvation and mercy. Some parts of Cairo are pristine and untouched. Then suddenly as one turns a corner, nothing but skeletons; the bare bones of old memories and long ago picked carcasses of history. The rhythmic timbre of his voice, like musical notes slipping through time and entering my thoughts,

[…]You don’t hurt others to save yourself. God will not accept your salvation on the backs of another. God won’t have mercy on you in the end. Have mercy on those who help you, care for you and take care of those who take care of you and your soul will be washed or cleansed and you shall be first in salvation[…]

His incantation, but a slow murmur; almost hypnotic as he slips between Arabic and Greek. The building empty, except for 2 old women whispering in the corner and a young mother dragging her little one across an isle. His voice filling the void between chaos and calm. My heart beating faster as I hide in distractions from my own thoughts and memories. Sometimes the suffering becomes too much. Then I realize, maybe it’s me and not them. I look around and life is moving forward. I’m standing still. His voice bleeds into my thoughts. His monotonous tone suddenly lifting and swaying in comforting rhythmic waves. 

[…] There is no power greater than sacrifice…sacrifice and redemption require compassion and mercy. Be kind to those are kind to you. Have compassion for those who hurt you and love those who will love you back. Sacrifice for those who will sacrifice for you. The offering fuels the calm…To be among the merciful is the highest 1456489546_web1calling there is[…]

I wasn’t really listening after that. What stuck in my head most was:


“[…] you don’t hurt others to save yourself […]”


71215733I’m not sure of the intended focus of his topic. I could only hear bits and pieces though my own distractions. There was an odd silence and a slow hum. I could hear voices beyond the walls, speaking rapidly and sometimes I could hear laughter in the distant night. Maybe it was the influence of my journey to get here.  Maybe it was my own paranoia. I heard every sound, even the silence was overwhelmingly and unnerving. In the distance, was it gun fire or just my imagination out of control? Every shadow, friend or foe?

I try to relax and put on a façade-confident and unafraid. That’s my reputation. I’m tough, fearless and self-assured. I’m reminded. It’s amazing what a person can get used to. Not tonight. Tonight I sit watching shadows fading from place to place. I watch lights flicker and burn away. I hear every sound and nothing at all. I watch the everyday, as people come and go. I’m startled out of my thoughts and jump slightly as I hear the sounds of an angry mob. I pause for a moment, uncertain; take a deep breath, I remind myself. I look around. No one is moving. When in Egypt…I walked slowly through the aisles and toward the front entrance. I see a crowd running past. The new normal of Cairo…the peace and chaos meshed into some unimaginable new civility. 

I’m not too bright when it comes to danger. Most run from it. I tend to run to it. I would be that person running into the woods alone at night chasing after some mysterious figure , all for the satisfaction of assuaging my curiosity.  That’s me. I walk down the road following the crowd. Nothing serious, but only in my own mind. Just a wedding; a moment of happiness and joy in in all the chaos; something good and positive rising from the rubble. How amazing that life goes on. When morning comes, I still can’t sleep.

It’s the mundane that I take for granted. I take for granted all of my every days, my usual trip to the gym without a worry or my bi monthly grocery shopping spree. It is not only Egypt.  I’m a Muslim woman in an uncertain world, the violence growing, the attacks against my community and soMideast Egypt much anger and hate, drowning out any semblance of peace. So maybe this security which I once took for granted, isn’t so assured now. Maybe what I am seeing here, is a glimpse into the future of my adopted homeland. This is new normal, the calm-chaos of everyday life. Did that already happen? Did I become numb to the chaos and violence?  I did not noticed until I had no other choice.

Life continues, through the anger, through the pain and even through the destruction. We are a resilient species. It is another sign of mercy in an uncertain existence.

Churches burnt to the ground all in the name of Islam, I’m told.

All of this for what? It is not in the name of Islam. It is in the name of power and control. People being the victims to another oppressive force, superimposing itself upon Islam to achieve an agenda. They don’t even pretend to follow Islam. Not by action or thought. It’s just the facade placed upon them to validate the existence and aggressive nature of their intentions. The world coming apart it seems.

…just stuck in my head the rest of the morning.

This is not my Islam. This is some vapid creature that not even the Prophet would recognize.

It reminded me of a saying by the Prophet Muhammad(pbuh)…Allah will not be merciful to those who are not merciful to others


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Modesty and Hijab in Islam

by A.N. Bayat




“And tell the believing women to reduce [some] of their vision and guard their private parts and not expose their adornment except that which [necessarily] appears thereof and to wrap [a portion of] their khimar over their chests and not expose their adornment except to their husbands, their fathers, their husbands’ fathers, their sons, their husbands’ sons, their brothers, their brothers’ sons, their sisters’ sons, their women, that which their right hands possess, or those male attendants having no physical desire, or children who are not yet aware of the private aspects of women. And let them not stamp their feet to make known what they conceal of their adornment. And turn to Allah in repentance, all of you, O believers, that you might succeed.” – (Quran 24:31)

“O Prophet, tell your wives and your daughters and the women of the believers to bring down over themselves [part] of their outer garments. That is more suitable that they will be knownmali-dance-inside and not be abused. And ever is Allah Forgiving and Merciful.” (Quran 33:59)

Islamic law requires women to be modest, not just in deeds but in their words. Modesty is more than just covering the hair. Does it even mean a woman should cover her hair? Let’s look for a moment at what the Quran says about that specifically.

The Quran says a woman should “look down and guard her private parts.” Here is thekaro-tribe-woman-650631-xl one that always gets people in trouble. “adornments” Meaning what? The same thing it means today…the body parts. Women wore cloaks (khimars) as a common practice. It was practical to protect from the elements. The Quran says for a woman to take that cloak and to cover the chest (bosom) and only show her [body] to her husband …bosom? doesn’t say anything about hair.

If most people understood the context they’d understand that slavery was not only practiced in the ancient world but common. “…that which their right hand possess (slaves)…

33:59 is literally referring to covering to protect from a dangerous environment. Life was hard in Arabia for women, even when given equality. It was lawless and dangerous. Thus women covering was also given for their protection to conceal their bodies from strangers as to not draw attention to themselves.

67a250fb-f759-4c84-92cf-ca8b50ad3621_16x9_788x442But, nowhere in these passages does it say a woman should wear loose clothing or cover her hair. Women already by practice covered part of their hair. Nowhere does it say a woman should not show any parts of her hair. So where do we get these ideas that women should wear loose clothing, cover all parts of their body, from head to toe  and show nothing at all?


The practical application in modern Muslim countries varies with a combination of individual and social taste. The Taliban require full burqas (covering everything, including a mesh for the eyes), while the more secular governments of Turkey and Tunisia once banned headscarves in public buildings (the bans have since been lifted following the Islamist ascension).

The head covering is interpreted as a symbol of male domination by most critics and by many Muslim women, who fight for the right to dress as they please.

“And women of post-menstrual age who have no desire for marriage – there is no blame upon them for putting aside their outer garments [but] not displaying adornment. But to modestly muslim_408490810refrain [from that] is better for them. And Allah is Hearing and Knowing.” (Quran 24:60)

This is usually interpreted as meaning that only old women are allowed to forgo the head covering. But, once again “adornment” in reference does not refer to the hair, but the one thing that is said should be covered…the bosom. The Quran does not say the “veil” is a face covering or a head covering. The very specific aspect of covering which is pointed out is the [bosom].

It is a choice given to women. Many wear it as a symbol of their faith. It is not obligatory. Although many scholars may say that it is and interpret it so, the fact in Islam is that Muslims do not have a hierarchy therefore in secular countries where jurisprudence is not interpreted to cover, a woman has more choices about covering and not covering if it is not secular law.

Touareg Collage3

Touareg of the Sahel and Sahara from Mali, and  Niger to Libya and Nigeria

Is there pressure in the Islamic community for women to cover? The pressure can either be subtle or pronounced.

Just like in Western countries, incidence of rape justified by the choices women make concerning their clothing is too common in Eastern Muslim majority countries as well. Thus it stands to reason much of this is influenced by patriarchal societies and their interpretations to obtain and maintain control over women. That is not and was not clearly the intention of Islam or modesty.

Much of modern interpretations of modesty go against many of the mandates of Islam :

“There shall be no compulsion in [acceptance of] the religion. The right course has become clear from the wrong. So whoever disbelieves in Taghut and believes in Allah has grasped the tumblr_m9mxzhLjps1rx8i7eo1_400most trustworthy handhold with no break in it. And Allah is Hearing and Knowing.”- (Quran 2:256)

What does this say about the accepted culture of Muslims that both pressure their version of modesty upon women and the accepted interpretations of hijab?

Bukhari (6:321) – Muhammad is asked whether it is right for a young woman to leave her house without a veil. He replies, “She should cover herself with the veil of her companion.”

Bukhari (60:282) – After Muhammad issued the command (Quran 24:31) for women to cover themselves, the women responded by tearing up sheets to cover their faces.

Abu Dawud (32:4092) – The Apostle of Allah… said: “O Asma’, when a woman reaches the age of menstruation, it does not suit her that she displays her parts of body except this and this, and he pointed to her face and hands” This was narrated by Aisha.

Abu Dawud (2:641) – The Prophet (peace_be_upon_him) said: Allah does not accept the prayer of a woman who has reached puberty unless she wears a veil.

Bukhari (52:250) – [The Prophet said] “It is not permissible for a man to be alone with a woman, and no lady should travel except with a Muhram (i.e. her husband or a person whom she cannot marry in any case for ever; e.g. her father, brother, etc.).” – Neither is a woman allowed to travel by herself.

Hijab Collage

From the Iranian Chador or Manteaux and Rysary to the Saudi Abaya and hijab

Many proponents of the hijab will point to these as well in interpreting the overall obligation of hijab (veil). In ancient times a veil or covering was a cloak or khimar ( a loosely based piece of cloth that could be pulled over the shoulders and hair…a shawl),

In the Quran the “veil” is also referred as a [partition] in a room to separate one from another,

“And when you recite the Qur’an, We put between you and those who do not believe in the Hereafter a veil.” (Quran 17:45) (partition)

“Allah has set a seal upon their hearts and upon their hearing, and over their vision is a veil. And for them is a great punishment.” (Quran 2:7) (separation)

“And between them will be a veil (partition), and on [its] elevations are men who recognize all by their mark. And they call out to the companions of Paradise, “Peace be upon you.” They have not [yet] entered it, but they long intensely.” (Quran 7:46)

040701_afghanBurqas_hmed_2p.grid-6x2In Afghanistan,  surah 33:53 is used to justify imposing the burqa.

“O you who have believed, do not enter the houses of the Prophet except when you are permitted for a meal, without awaiting its readiness. But when you are invited, then enter; and when you have eaten, disperse without seeking to remain for conversation. Indeed, that [behavior] was troubling the Prophet, and he is shy of [dismissing] you. But Allah is not shy of the truth. And when you ask [his wives] for something, ask them from behind a veil (partition). That is purer for your hearts and their hearts. And it is not [conceivable or lawful] for you to harm the Messenger of Allah or to marry his wives after him, ever. Indeed, that would be in the sight of Allah an enormity.” (Quran 33:53)

Within context this is a sign of respect, to the wife of another not as a sign of oppression or a sign to cover women.


A political statement in hijab for women in Iran-Chador and Rysary

This is not to say that a woman doesn’t have a right to choose her symbolism of Islam. It is to say that to cover the hair is a choice and to cover overall is a choice given to women when they reach puberty. If it is not the law of the land in which one exists, the choice to do so is symbolic, personal and  individual to each woman in her time. In many cultures young, prepubescent girls are forced  to cover their hair even though it is clear in the Quran and hadiths that it is  not a mandate  or obligatory in Islam.

Every woman’s journey to the hijab is personal and unique, but many of those paths will have some similarities. For some women, the hijab may not be a conscious decision, which is why so many struggle with it. For others, wearing the hijab is a choice made through a woman’s own thought process and a reflection of her relationship with God. And of course there are others who may choose not to wear the hijab at all and risk facing judgment from men and women despite the very personal nature of their actions.

This perspective limits a woman’s ability to make choices about the hijab that are reflective of what she truly wants. Instead a women are made to fulfill certain social expectations that satisfy what others want for them. That is what the hijab has become in Islam, not always, necessarily a 506812703symbol of faith, but a social expectation or indicator of a woman’s level of belief.

What we are questioning here is not a woman’s right to choose, but the forced imposition of covering of the hair, when Quran is clear.


Filed under Culture, Hijab, Muslim, Politics, Ramadan, women's rights

The 99 names of ALLAH

1. ALLAH (The name of ALLAH)
2 .Ar-Rahman ( The most beneficent)
3. Ar-Raheem ( The most merciful)
4. Al-Malik (The king)
5. Al-Qudoos (The most holy)
6. As-Salaam (The bestower of peace)
7 Al-Mu’min (The granter of security)
8. Al-Muhaymin (The protector )
9. Al-Azeez (The mighty)
10. Al-Jabbar (The compeller
11. Al-Mutakabbir (The majestic)
12. Al-Khaliq (The Creator)
12. Al-Baarih (The maker)
14. Al-Musawwir ( The fashioner of forms)
15. Al-Gaffar (The forgiver)
16. Al-Qahhar (The subduer)
17. Al-Wahhab (The bestower)
18. Ar-Razzaq (The provider)
19. Al-Fattah (The opener)
20. Al-Aleem (The all knowing)
21. Al-Qaabid (The with-holder)
22. Al-Basit (The expander)
23.Al-Khafid (The abaser)
24 .Ar-Raafi (The exalter)
25. Al-Mu’iz (The bestower of honor)
26. Al-Mudhil (The humiliator )
26. As-Sami ( The all hearing)
27. Al-Baseer (The all seeing)
28. Al-Hakam ( The judge)
29. Al-Adl ( The just)
30. Al-Lateef (The most affectionate)
31. Al-Khabeer (The all aware)
32. Al-Haleem ( The forbearing)
33. Al-Azeem (The magnificent)
34. Al-Ghafoor ( The forgiving)
35. Ash-Shakoor ( The appreciative)
36. Al-Aliyy (The most high)
37. Al-Kabir (The greatest)
38 Al-Hafeez (The preserver)
39. Al-Muqeet ( The sustainer)
40. Al-Haseeb (The Reckoner)
41. Al-Jaleel ( The Sublime)
42. Al-Kareem (The Generous)
43. Ar-Raqeeb (The watchful)
44. Al-Mujeeb (The responsive)
45. Al-Waasi (The all Encompassing)
46. Al-Hakeem ( The wise)
47. Al-Wadood (The most loving)
48. Al-Majeed ( The most glorious)
49. Al-Baa’ith (The ressurector)
50. Ash-Shaheed (The witness)
51. Al-Haqq (The truth)
52. Al-Wakeel (The ultimate trustee)
53. Al-Qawiyy (The most strong)
54. Al-Mateen (The most firm)
55 . Al-Waliyy (The protector)
56. Al-Hameed (The praise worthy)
57. Al-Muhsee (The reckoner)
58. Al-Mubdi (The originator)
59. Al-Mu’eed (The restorer)
60 . Al-Muhyee (The giver of life)
61. Al-Mumeet (The causer of death)
62. Al-Hayy (The ever living)
63 .Al-Qayyoom (The self subsisting, sustainer of all)
64. Al-Waajid (The self sufficient)
65 .Al-Maajid (The glorified)
66. Al-Ahad (The one)
67. As-Samad (The Eternally Besought)
68. Al-Qaadir (The omnipotent)
69. Al-Muqtadir (The powerful)
70. Al-Muqaddim (The Expediter)
71. Al-Mu’akhhir (The delayer)
72. Al-Awwal (The first)
73 .Al-Aakhir (The last)
74. Az-Zaahir (The manifest)
75. Al-Baatin (The hidden)
76. Al-waalee (The governor)
77. Al-Muta’alee (The most exalted)
78. Al-Barr (The source of all goodness)
79. At-Tawwab ( The acceptor of repentance)
80. Al-Muntaqim (The avenger)
81. Al-Afuww (The Pardoner)
82. Ar-Ra’oof ( The most kind)
83. Al-Malik -ul- Muluk (The owner of sovereignity)
84 Dhul-jalaali wal-Ikraam (The possessoof majesty and honor)
85. Al-Muqsit (The equitable)
86 .Al-Jaami (The gatherer)
87. Al-Ghaniyy (The all sufficient)
88. Al-Mughnee (The Enricher)
89. Al-Maan (The preventer of harm)
90. Ad-Daar (The distresser)
91. An-Naafi (The propitious)
92 An-Noor (The light)
93. Al-Haadee (The guide)
94. Al-Badee (The originator)
95. Al-Baqee. (The everlasting)
96. Al-Warith (The ultimate inheritor)
97. Ar-Rasheed (The guide to the right path)
99. Al-Sabur (The most patient)


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In my Modesty I am Judged: Hijabi on Mission

Via A.N. Bayat

on Jun 6, 2015


If a woman has a right to expose her body, she should also have the right to conceal it.

As the U.S. Supreme Court rules in favor of Samantha Elauf against Abercrombie & Fitch refusing her a job for wearing a hijab, I can only say that I suddenly felt that maybe we are moving one step forward as socially responsible people and that justice was served. It sends a message to all hijabis who struggle with these choices in the work place. There are many of us.

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A Muslim’s Rights

A Muslim's Rights

The Prophet (sawa) said: “Every believer has 30 obligations over his brother-in-faith which could not be said to have been met unless he either performs them or is excused from performing them by his brother-in-faith.” (Textbook of Ethics)

1. Forgiving his mistakes
2. Being merciful and kind to him when he is in a foreign land
3. Guarding his secrets
4. Giving him a hand when he is about to fall
5. Accepting his apology
6. Discouraging backbiting about him
7. Persisting in giving him good advice
8. Treasuring his friendship
9. Fulfilling his trust
10. Visiting him when he is ill
11. Being with him at his death
12. Accepting his invitations and presents
13. Returning his favors in the same way
14. Thanking him for his favors
15. Being grateful for his assistance
16. Protecting his honor and property
17. Helping him meet his needs
18. Making an…

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The Call to Prayer

May God have mercy on those who lead the way
and those who come behind and those who fulfill their vows,
and those who seek to fulfill them,
with His Grace and bounty, His great benefits and favors!
For He is the best object of petition and the noblest object of hope;
and God is the best protector and the most merciful
of those who show mercy, and the best of friends and the best of heirs
and the best replacer of what has been consumed
and provider for those devoted who sow
and till the soil of good works.
And God bless Muhammad and all the Prophets and Messengers!
Amen, O Lord of created beings! – Rumi

From A Prayer

Translated by : Camille Helminski, Kabir Helminski

The Call Prayer brought me back from the edge, as it did years ago.

The call triggers an ingrained sense of peace that stems from childhood. It brings me to that mindset where nothing matters but sitting in peace and feeling the vibrations of the earth, of time and history.

When you’re a Muslim in America and you look like this you’re made to feel ashamed of who you are, as if you’ve done something wrong or made a disgraceful decision. There was a point in my life when I was asked if I was Muslim, I would say “yes, but I’m not practicing or yes, but…” Yes, but because suddenly the way I am perceived changes. Then suddenly people cease to see me and only see their prejudice, and their misinformation or their short sightedness, minds close and conversations cease.

When confronted with anything different or that they feel may represent Islam people change. The reaction to a Sikh and a turban in the military is profound, even more so for a Muslim.

-This is a joke right?

-A gasp came out of me.

-**** I sure hope so!! It shocked and then again not!!

-What? This can’t be true..

-That’s F ed up

-Thats crazy

-Oh god your husband will be the first with a beard, ****

-No my husband will be the first to take out his own people lmao he has a very negative reaction to turbans.
-Just kidding btw please no one take me seriously lol

-We should never bind our rules for anything. If u want to be in our military u should abide by the rules already in place or don’t join!!!!!

-OMFG no way

-Yeah I have had the same thoughts as all yall!! I never like to offend anyone but this would offensive to myself, American Soldiers, and many many people who have lost loved ones due to 911 and the war!! I completely agree it has always been you go by their rules and to start binding them in this way is so definitely madding!!!

-I’ll believe this when I see it in person until then this is a much of nonsense.

They don’t see the man, the soldier who has served his country, they see a turban and they think “terrorist.” But the idea of a Muslim is even more horrifying:

Yes the muslims consider Jesus a mear prophet preceding muhammad . The muslims I know of revier muhammad above God (as in “say what you want about God , just dont dare speak bad of muhammad) And is it true that mulims believe that Gods testing of Abraham with his son Isaac …was taken to mean its ok to kill in Gods name ?? I personally do not know of any who do not believe Jesus is Jewish . But look whats going on as we speak … more and more orthadox Jews are seeing Jesus revealed as the true messiah . Please open your eyes and heart to Him a.n. Bayat .There is no death by Yeshua , only peace love and grace .

“Breaking the Veils” will be on view in St. Kate’s Catherine G. Murphy Gallery in St. Paul through April 1. http://www.stkate.edu/gallery/09-10/breaking_the_veils.html

Being a Muslim in America means different things to different people. But when you are faced with prejudice, misinformation and a closed mind you begin to realize you are also faced with a closed heart.

Feb. 1 meant two things to me this year, it was my birthday and it was World Hijab Day. The whole idea is to support hijabis around the world but also to introduce the life of a hijabi to non hijabis.

On many occasions I do not wear the hijab, for fear of prejudgement, and prejudice. It’s something that I have struggled with for the past three years. To the person I was with before, to him being a Muslim meant that I should “have cool outfits and belly dance,” at times. At other times to him I was a “sand nigger,” or “a rag head.” I struggled to stay as unobtrusive and unnoticed as possible. I lost my hijab completely.

Americans see hijab as oppressive. Hijab is a choice. It is a choice of respect, reverence and modesty. Not having the choice of wearing hijab or being judged for it, is the oppression. In the end Islam won, because I could not be who I was not. I couldn’t allow him to superimpose his preconceived prejudice and ignorance over my choice.

In the past few weeks the superficial aspects of my struggles with him and the justice system have over powered the deeper aspects of me. I have been more concerned about not wearing hijab in court or in public for fear of not being treated fairly. I’ve allowed his oppressive nature to once again supersede my choice. I’ve allowed it to interfere with my existentialism. It’s made me feel disconnected.

Hijab is more than a symbol of modesty for me, it’s a symbol of strength, perseverance and survival of oppression. It gives me peace.

The call to prayer brought me back and reminded me the superficial aspects do not matter. The outer struggle is not more important than the inner struggle. They are one and the same.

There is no but, yes I am.

For the first time in three years there is no shame in being Muslim. The call to prayer goes straight to my heart. It represents peace.


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February 2, 2014 · 2:57 am