The Latino Muslim Voice
The January-March 2010 newsletter features:
Quotes of the Month
Because Allah ta'ala made me both...
Hejab on my head
© June 2007
The Principles of Islam
By Sayyed Mohammad
In the name of Allah, Most Beneficent, Most Merciful
Know, child, that God is only One,
Our God is Just, and loves the right,
We call them Prophets, know you well,
The books of God, a third guide form,
In all these Books 'tis plainly said,
The Qu'ran teaches us to pray,
My Daughter's Aqiqah
By Shinoa Matos
Bismillah irRahamnir Raheem
The day of Sumaeyah's Aqiqah had arrived, after having postponed it for two months. My husband Julio and I intended to do it on the 7th day after her birth in accordance with the Sunnah of the Prophet but because of my Cesarean, I was not up to making all the arrangements so soon. After we both fully recovered-me from my surgery and Sumaeyah from a respiratory infection-everything seemed to be well enough to call the imam and set up the ceremony.
I met Imam Muhammad Shamsi Ali at the Islamic Cultural Center of New York where I first started attending his classes on Islam. I recall being drawn to his amiable personality and his affection for converts. Always sympathetic to the difficulties we reverts face, he did his best to transition us into Muslim life as easily as possible. He's an outstanding leader and it was only fitting that he should perform my daughter's Aqiqah, introducing her to the Muslim community as well as to our non-Muslim family and friends.
The ceremony was held at Masjid Al-Hikmah in Queens, where Imam Shamsi also holds classes and is an Imam. There the Indonesian sisters were gracious enough to set up the hall downstairs from the musallah with chairs and tables, as well as cook the lamb we had slaughtered. I arranged for catering from the Moroccan Sandwich Shop in Astoria-quite famous for its tasty food. Chicken, Spanish-style rice and frittatas along with the lamb and a luscious chocolate cake greeted our guests. And my friend Jessenia was nice enough to decorate the hall with balloons to make everything look more festive.
A few days before the Aqiqah, Julio took the hair we had shaven off of Sumaeyah's head on the 7th day after her birth to the jewelry store to have it weighed against silver-the amount determined given away in charity. She was born with a surprisingly full head of hair and I immediately considered it a blessing, just like the rain on the day of the ceremony and her birth on a Friday.
I dressed the baby in a beautiful brown dress with vividly colored flowers that my aunt Nixa bought her as a gift. Pink headband and bow to decorate her hair that had incredibly grown back so quickly and brown shoes to finish off the outfit. Everyone passed her around from hand to hand and if it weren't for the fact that I had to greet everyone, I would not have known what to do. It was the first time she had been out of my arms for such a long period of time.
As soon as everyone arrived, Imam Shamsi gathered everyone around me, Julio, and the baby to begin. He did a a wonderful job of demystifying the Aqiqah for my non-Muslim family-clearly explaining the Sunnah, its obligation and its beauty-that I saw them smile and sincerely nod their heads in affirmation to everything he was referring too. Insha'allah may Allah guide them to Islam.
The ceremony ended with a prayer and looking around so many people making duah for Sumaeyah, I was overcome by the thought of the road that lay ahead of us. We were performing her Aqiqah, not a birthday. She would be celebrating Ramadhaan, not Christmas. Insha'allah, she'll be wearing a Hijab, not the short skirt or tank top.
Julio and I have been entrusted by Allah to raise a righteous Muslimah, the first generation Muslim to be born within the Ortiz-Padilla family. It was both frightening and humbling. We stood at the very same point that the Prophet and his Companions faced in the beginning of the revelation. They too had just come to Islam; they too were Muslims in the mist of non-Muslim family and friends-facing ridicule, loneliness, and feelings of outcast. They too were creating new families and bringing forth Muslims into the world. There intentions were clear.
What about our intentions for having Sumaeyah? Yes, she is playful and cute and we teach her the alphabet and how to say "hello", but her purpose in this world is to worship none but Allah-to live and die in a state of Islam. That is why we were there performing her Aqiqah, why we shaved her head on the 7th day as instructed by the Prophet, and why my husband recited the Azthan and Iqamah in her ears upon her birth-all for our Lord's pleasure.
May he be pleased with our efforts, may he bless Sumaeyah with the best of Iman's, making her of the righteous Muslims to walk this earth, accepting her efforts, bestowing her with good deeds and overlooking her sins. May he be pleased with her all her life, insha'allah. Amin!
Islamic Classes in New York and Chicago
Introduccion al Islam en Espanol
Class Description: El propósito de esta clase será proveer conocimientos básicos sobre la religión del Islam, empezando por los seis principios de la fe Islámica y los cinco pilares de la misma. De igual forma, buscaremos entablar una conversación productiva sobre asuntos que atañen a los musulmanes hispanoparlantes hoy en día. Cuáles son los retos y posibilidades que enfrentamos los musulmanes latinos en relación a nuestras familias, nuestras comunidades, y la comunidad musulmana norteamericana en especifico? Cómo podemos aprender de las experiencias de nuestros hermanos y hermanas de fe?
This class will aim to cover the basics tenets of Islam, as well as to provide a venue for discussing some of the challenges Hispanic/Latino Muslims face today. The class will be held in Spanish, and it is open to Spanish speaking Muslims, their families, friends, and all those who wish to learn about Islam and Latino Muslims while practicing their Spanish language. Bienvenidos!
Instructor: Janan Delgado is an Ecuadorian graduate student at NYU's Kevorkian Center for Near Eastern and Islamic studies. Born and raised in Ecuador, she moved to Egypt at age eighteen to study Arabic and Islamic sciences at Al-Azhar University and Al-Fajr Center for Arabic Language. After earning a degree in Arabic language, Janan enrolled in the American University in Cairo, where she acquired a BA in Political Science in 2007.
She is currently writing her MA thesis in Maliki Law on Child Custody in Al-Andalus and North Africa.
The Islamic Center at NYU is dedicated to fostering a sense of awareness, activism and scholarship amongst the Muslim community both on and off campus. For more information about our clubs, events, staff and podcasts, please visit: http://www.icnyu.org/
Circulo de Estudios Islamicos en Chicago
CIRCULO DE ESTUDIOS ISLAMICOS
presentados en el MCC, Muslim Community Center (en el 2do piso), cada primer y tercer Sabado del mes.
El siguiente circulo de inshaAllah sera el SABADO 20 DE FEBRERO DEL 2010
MCC, MUSLIM COMMUNITY CENTER, 4380 N.ELSTON AVE. CHIC. IL 60641
I.CLASES DE ARABE ~ 3:00PM - 4:25PM
II. EL CLUB DEL LIBRO ~4:35PM - 6:00PM
Moros y Mestizos Conference Set for Feb. 25-27
By Jazmyn Bradford
The Department of Spanish & Portuguese, Chicano Hispano Mexicano Studies, Southwest Hispanic Research Institute, Latin American and Iberian Institute, Foreign Languages and Literatures, American Studies, and the Department of Student Affairs will co-host the 16th annual UNM Conference on Ibero-American Culture and Society, "Moros, Moriscos, Marranos y Mestizos: Alterity, Hybridity Identity in Diaspora."
The conference will be held on Feb. 25 through Feb. 27. On Thursday, the event will be held in the Student Union Building, Acoma, Isleta and Sandía rooms. On Friday, it will move to at the National Hispanic Resource Center. On Saturday, participants have the option of touring the Santa Fe Museum.
"Moros, Moriscos, Marranos y Mestizos" seeks to recognize and remember the 400th anniversary of the removal of 300,000 Spanish Christians (Moriscos) and the largest ethnic cleansing to take place in Western Europe until the twentieth century.
"We are considering historic and contemporary texts, traditions, and expressive culture from Moorish, Jewish, Christian and Native American encounters in Iberia and the Americas," said Enrique Lamadrid, the director of Chicano Hispano Mexicano Studies.
The event will emphasize the historical questions of religious difference and violence, yet it will also explore the many ways that literature, folklore, festivals, music, visual art can provide a place for exchange and cross-cultural understanding.
"We are all working for better intercultural communication, especially between Moslems, Christians, and Jews," Lamadrid said.
The key note speakers, Anouar Majid from the University of England and Michelle Hamilton from the University of Minnesota, will present the lecture "Pure Selves Impure Bodies" and "The Fall of Muslim Granada and the Expulsion of the Jews," respectively.
There will also be performances by the Zevk Emsemble who will perform, "Music of the Morisco Diaspora: From Spain to North Africa and Turkey" and Las Inditas Nuevomexicanas who will perform "Música Mestiza de Nuevo México.
Participants must register to attend. Registration is $100 for professors and $50 for graduate students. Participants who also wish to attend the tour of the Santa Fe Museum as part of the conference will be charged $25 person at the museum.
Event - details: Moros y Mestizos Conference Set for Feb. 25-27
On the 400th anniversary of the expulsion of the Moriscos from Spain, we consider historic and contemporary texts, traditions, and expressive culture from Moorish - Jewish - Christian - Native American encounters in Iberia and the Americas.
This year we have the pleasure to present the following speakers:
* Anouar Majid - University of New England
* Victor M. Solís - Instituto Cultural de Aguascalientes
Come enjoy the art of this year's performers:
* Zevk Ensemble
* Anouar Majid - University of New England
* Michelle Hamilton - University of Minnesota
¿Por qué Moros y Cristianos?
The year 2009 marked the 400th anniversary of the expulsion of Moriscos from Spain. As important as the infamous year of 1492, if less well known, 1609 was the beginning of the removal of some 300,000 Spanish Christians (for the Moriscos were at least nominally Christians) and marked the largest ethnic cleansing to take place in Western Europe until the twentieth century. Indeed, because Muslims had been a presence on the Iberian Peninsula for eight centuries, their expulsion was even questioned by much of the Iberian population at that time.
Our conference aims to not only commemorate the above and the Muslim era that preceded it, but also endeavors to make connections between that historical moment and its many more contemporary variations: what can we say about identity, patrimony, religious difference, and nationhood from Al-Andalus to the present? How are such topics expressed in cultural production? How are ideas about the Reconquest, the Jewish and Morisco expulsions, and otherness re-interpreted in the colonial New World? How are they understood today both in the United States and in the rest of the Americas?
Beyond the appropriate timing of the conference, the topic is particularly pertinent here in New Mexico. Many in our community, our student body, and our faculty understand firsthand the arbitrariness and permeability of borders, and the violence that can accompany state-sanctioned otherness. The conference thus aims to address not only how religious identity is defined in Al-Andalus and during the Reconquest, but also how religious and ethnic difference continue to be relevant in contemporary Latin America, Spain, and the United States. What does it mean when Osama Bin Laden invokes Al-Andalus? And, by the same token, what does it mean when Spaniards call Moroccan immigrants "moros?" Scholars attending the conference will underscore the historical continuity of questions of religious difference and violence, exploring the many ways that culture--literature, folklore, festivals, music, visual art--can provide a rich site for exchange and cross-cultural understanding.
Science and Scholarship in Al-Andalus
The Message International
Maslamah al-Majriti wrote a number of works on mathematics and astronomy, studied and elaborated the Arabic translation of Ptolemy's Almagest, and enlarged and corrected the astronomical tables of the famous al-Khwarizmi. He also compiled conversion tables in which the dates of the Persian calendar were related to Hijrah dates, so that for the first time the events of Persia's past could be dated with precision.
Al-Zarqali, known to the West as Arzachel, combined theoretical knowledge with technical skill. He built a water clock capable of determining the hours of the day and night and indicating the days of the lunar months. He also contributed to the famous Toledan Tables, a highly accurate compilation of astronomical data. He also compiled valuable tables of latitude and longitude.
Al-Bitruji developed a new theory of stellar movement, based on Aristotle's thinking, in his Book of Form, a work that was later popular in the West. The names of many stars are still those given them by Muslim astronomers, such as Altair (from al-tair, "the flier"), Deneb (from dhanab, "tail"), and Betelgeuse (from bayt al-jawza, "the house of the twins" or "Gemini"). Other terms still in use today such as zenith, nadir, and azimuth are also derived from Arabic and so reflect the work of the Muslim astronomers of al-Andalus.
Abu al-Qasim al-Zahrawi was the most famous surgeon of the Middle Ages. Known in the West as Abulcasis and Albucasis, he was the author of the Tasrif, a book that, translated into Latin, became the leading medical text European universities used during the Middle Ages. It has a section on surgical instruments of elegant, functional design and great precision.
Ibn Zuhr, known as Avenzoar, was the first to describe pericardial abscesses and to recommend tracheotomy when necessary.
*Islamic Spain also made contributions to medical ethics and hygiene as well.
Ibn Hazm insisted that moral qualities were mandatory in a physician. A doctor, he wrote, should be kind, understanding, friendly, and able to endure insults and adverse criticism. Furthermore, he went on, a doctor should keep his hair and fingernails short, wear clean clothes, and behave with dignity.
Ibn al-Baytar, the most famous Andalusian botanist, wrote a book called Simple Drugs and Food, an alphabetically arranged compendium of medicinal plants.
Ibn al-'Awwam listed hundreds of species of plants and gives precise instructions regarding their cultivation and use. He wrote of how to graft trees, produce hybrids, stop blights and insect pests, and also, how to make perfumes.
In the study of geography, Ibn Battutah, made important contributions. Born in North Africa, then in the cultural orbit of Islamic Spain, Ibn Battutah travelled extensively for twenty-eight years and produced a travel book that proved to be a rich source for both historians and geographers.
Ibn Khaldun, the first historian to develop and explicate general laws governing the rise and decline of civilizations. He was the first to give rise to sociology and in a sense, he was the first modern philosopher of history.
Ibrahim Benjamin Perez Mahomah (1933-2009)
Widely Sharing Love of Islam
Hajji Ibrahim Benjamin Perez Mahomah passed away peacefully in his sleep on 8 Dec. 2009 after a fight with brain and stomach cancer. He was laid to rest in Livermore, CA.
One of the first, if not the first, Hispanic converts to what he thought was Islam in the San Francisco/Bay Area back in the 1950s, he told Deborah Kong of the Associated Press in June 2002 about his conversion.
A Puerto Rican, he was nevertheless drawn to the Nation of Islam meeting in 1957 out of curiosity. The only Latino at the meetings of dozens, then hundreds, of African Americans, he reminisced: "Their food was delicious. They were friendly. I liked it there and I stayed."
Eventually joining mainstream Sunni Islam, he traveled around the country introducing Islam to Hispanic and Native American peoples, especially in the California prison system. The first president of the California Latino Muslim Association, a speaker at various Islamic conventions and conferences, as well as a contributor of several articles to Islamic magazines, he was widely known as Imam Perez.
He leaves his wife of fifty-four years, Cecilia Perez, daughters Diana Perez, Patricia Perez Navarro, and Rachel (Perez) Juarez - his son Benajmin Perez Jr. died in 2004; nine grandchildren: Lina Perez Vega, Leticia Ochoa, Marianna Juarez, Benjamin Perez III, Melinda Perez, Cecilia Navarro, Sophia Perez, Raul Juarez III, and Nicolasa Navarro; and one great-granddaughter.
Islamic Horizons is the bi-monthly publication of the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA).
Khadijah Rivera (1950-2009)
Islamic Horizons March/April 2010
Heart of the Community
Discussing her conversion, Khadijah Rivera, a Puerto Rican ex- Roman Catholic, wrote: "Reverting to Islam would be complicated by my childhood training that Jesus Christ was my savior and salvation. To pray to anyone but him would be blasphemy. I therefore studied several religions when I left my church and its rigid teachings. But they were all Christian and not much different from the original one. Of course they all believed that the papal aristocracy was nonsense and I praised them for that. But they could not justify Jesus Christ in a sensible nor logical manner."
On 22 Oct. 1983, this activist who had been going from marches to study groups of dialectical materialism, Maoism, and socialism- and even to China to see the system for herself-embraced Islam. She wrote: "I have become stronger and more resolved to not only raise a family of Muslims, but also to become a da'iee and spread the good word [of Islam] among Hispanics. After the tragedy of 9/11, many Muslims removed their veils for fear of assaults. I was destined to die as a Muslim if need be, for my only defense was faith! Alhamdulilah, neither did I remove the veil nor hide. I stood up and went on live television to speak to Hispanics on Telemundo on the noted Cristina Show from Miami. I had become a modest but resonant Muslimah. Rather than roll over, I made an uproar about the injustices done to Muslims."
Soon after her conversion, she married an Egyptian Muslim and gradually noticed that many of his co-workers were married to non-Muslim Latinas. Hoping to uplift Hispanic women, in 1988 she founded PIEDAD (Propagacion Islamica para la Educacion de Ala el Divino [having faith and compassion]; (PiedadOnline.com). The majority of members of this womenled organization, consisting of both Latinas and non-Latinas, are converts. PIEDAD's leadership has joined the Shura Council of the League of Latino Muslims Organizations and actively participates in local mosques and communities to collaborate, share information, and devise strategies to better all communities. Its five national chapters, with more than 300 members, now focus on helping converts adapt to living in a sometimes hostile society.
Rivera, involved in some two dozen social causes, encouraged members to become active in their mosques, for that is where "the life and pulse of the Muslim community" is located. During her life, this social activist, community worker, and mother of five taught at a local Tampa Bay school and, after school, helped immigrant Burmese children learn English; worked for three years at the Universal Academy of Florida-the high school was closed so its students could attend her funeral; and was a coordinator of Project Downtown Tampa, a student-initiated project that assists the homeless and needy. Beginning in summer 2009, she worked at CAIR's Tampa office; two weeks before her demise on 22 Nov., she was a featured speaker at the Seventh Annual Hispanic Muslim Day in Union City, NJ.
One friend summed up her life as a perfect example of how to be American and Muslim as well as how Muslims can be a positive social force. Another tribute said that not only did she feed empty stomachs, but she also touched the hearts of the fallen and downtrodden. Regardless of how society saw these people, she treated them with the respect and dignity she believed everyone deserves.
She is survived by her children David Sanchez (39), Andre Rivera (38), Mahmoud Abdel-Mohty (24), Maryam Abdel-Mohty (22), and Aisha Abdel-Mohty (21).
Islamic Horizons is the bi-monthly publication of the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA).
WhyIslam Spanish Billboard
877-WHY-ISLAM Spanish Billboard in Union City, NJ
The Islamic Circle of North America has launched a nation-wide campaign to place WhyIslam billboards in major cities across the country in its ongoing efforts to educate others about Islam. As part of this campaign, the New Jersey chapter of ICNA has put up a Spanish billboard in Union City, New Jersey.
In addition to the toll free 877-WHYISLAM hotline, the billboard also provides the address of the North Hudson Islamic Educational Center (NHIEC) masjid. The goal of the campaign is to provide unbiased information about Islam and to dispel commonly perceived misconceptions.
Cartelera de WhyIslam
La cartelera de 1-877-Why-Islam en Union City, NJ
El Círculo Islámico de Norte América (en cifras inglés, ICNA, o Islamic Circle of North America) ha lanzado una campaña a escala nacional para colocar letreros de WhyIslam (¿Por qué Islam?) en las grandes ciudades del país en sus esfuerzos en curso para educar a los demás sobre el Islam. Como parte de esta campaña, la sucursal de NJ de la ICNA ha puesto carteleras en español en Union City, NJ.
Además del número de teléfono gratuito, 1-877-WhyIslam, los letreros también dan la dirección a la mezquita del Centro Educacional Islámico de North Hudson (en cifras inglés, NHIEC, o North Hudson Islamic Educational Center). La meta de la campaña es proveer información imparcial sobre el Islam y para disipar ideas equivocadas comúnmente percibidos.
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