The Latino Muslim Voice
The January-March 2011 newsletter features:
Quotes of the Month
By Samantha Sanchez
I always think of the Muslim Woman this way:
Mothers (of the)
© August 2002.
By Saad Shamim
Allah is my Lord,
We forbid what is wrong,
Sunnah is my role model,
Jihad is my life,
Righteousness is my character,
Muhammad (S)'s my messenger,
Muslims are my brothers,
Piety's my mean,
War is what I hate,
They say that we are terrorists,
This is the Creed I'll die on,
I'll make Islam prevail,
© September 2004, 7th grade.
El-Hajj Malik ash-Shabazz: Retrieving a Legacy Fallen into Dereliction
By Yusuf Rios
Often, El-Hajj Malik ash-Shabazz (r) (a.k.a. Malcolm X) is judged by what he said more than by what he did not say. With more frequency, he is only defined by a narrow segment of his life and teachings: a politicized discourse married to the teachings of Elijah Muhammad addressing race relations. Due to this partial reading, the legacy of El-Hajj has fallen derelict and is in need of rehabilitation so that we can transcend the limits of his misread legacy. The life and teachings of El-Hajj as a whole are seldom considered, resulting in little benefit to that segment of the Muslim community which is disenfranchised and marginalized in urban America; this is a segment of society left to negotiate their existence with little economic or strategic support from their Muslim brethren.
Left without emotional and material support, they are forced to suffer the same realities as all others who are disenfranchised by crime, violence, poverty, unemployment, underemployment and dysfunctional institutions of education. Although El-Hajj constantly spoke to this social reality, the Muslim community in America has neglected his legacy by failing to consistently address it. The theme of social justice is almost never raised except in reference to Muslims abroad. As a result, impoverished Muslims in America are seen as socially dysfunctional and backward by choice while impoverished Muslims abroad are looked upon with a charitable eye.
The faulty reading of El-Hajj's legacy and importing of foreign discourse claiming to represent authoritative Islamic practice has perpetuated the disenfranchisement, illiteracy, poverty and other social problems that aggravate social alienation. Thus, it has been the cause of great damage. A people once liberated by the symbols of Islam now find religious beliefs by Muslims that solidify repression. What is neglected is what is most relevant for Muslims occupying urban space: economic disadvantage and political disenfranchisement. Another way the legacy of El-Hajj has been misrepresented is as an Islamized Marxist discourse on revolution by those who inherited the legacy of Black Nationalism outside of the orbit of the Warith-Deen Community. Here too, the road to understanding El-Hajj is blocked and intellect and emotion have nowhere to turn but to militancy. As a result, El-Hajj is wrongly characterized as a militant violence monger and is regularly contrasted to Martin Luther King.
I propose that we read the life of El-Hajj to understand the process of self-transformation and subtle insights. Understanding the birth of El-Hajj and the death of Malcolm X and Malcolm Little are incredibly relevant to disenfranchised Muslims in the inner-city. Neglecting the metamorphosis into El-Hajj Malik ash-Shabazz has allowed for Islam in urban America to cease to be a source of liberation. There is no doubt that El-Hajj underwent a process of transformation by studying in the school of Elijah Muhammad, but a careful reading proves that eventually, it was El-Hajj who transformed the school of Elijah Muhammad by presenting Islam as a solution to personal change, growth and maturity. Da`wah (inviting to Islam) under the variety of outreach groups and movements in America has failed to convey Islam as this solution, signaling a stark disconnect from the social context of Muslims suffering in Urban America. This disconnect not only betrays the spirit of Islam but it also marginalizes the very legacy of Islam in America, a legacy inherited from El-Hajj Malik ash-Shabazz.
Simply put, his legacy honored the human being, valued education and empowerment, and challenged individuals to engage in remaking the self. He inspired righteousness, intellect and self-determination in others as marks of dignity and virtues commanding respect. We do not need to resurrect our reading of El-Hajj's legacy, his early psychology of race, or his discourse on political revolution, but we must revive his message of self-transformation, self-correction, self-education and self-determination. We must honor El-Hajj's emergence in American society and the Muslim world as a leader and educator.
To neglect those aspects of his legacy is an intellectual crime, an act against wisdom, and a betrayal of Islam and Muslims in America, especially urban America. The neglect is clearly present when we see indigenous Muslims failing to embody the positive qualities required for transformation (qualities encouraged and honored in shar'iah, or Islamic law). They scorn the life and teachings of El-Hajj because they are deficient in the very qualities that El-Hajj encouraged in others by his speech and example. With the true legacy of El-Hajj in mind, we can only conclude that a message communicated from the Mosque mimbar (pulpit) that fails to address the needs of the people is bankrupt, clearly misplaced and negligent to say the least.
The Female Scholars Of Islam
By Latifah Martinez
I wanted to put together this little piece to briefly mention a few of the MANY female scholars throughout history to make the point that women have always had an important position in this deen that was never questioned in the past.
I think that if more Muslim women and girls knew about these noble women then less would be affected by the false talk of the so-called "Muslimah feminists" who make us think that we must either reduce or completely remove the hijab, mingle with men and other such things in order to be "liberated". Not so, as these great women have shown.
Upon reflection, what is more amazing about these women is that they were not only scholars who memorized the Qur'an, memorized several thousand ahadith along with the chain of narrators for each, but also wives and mothers who had duties at home MINUS the modern conveniences we have today. This should be a reminder and inspiration to the women to not only to study the deen but be very diligent and strive to go above and beyond in their studies of this deen.
And finally, as many of these women were taught by their fathers and/or husbands (although many taught their husbands) this should serve as a reminder to the MEN to teach their daughters (and wives for that matter) just as diligently as the sons are taught. In many cases, the blame for level of ignorance amongst some of the sisters must be laid firmly at the feet of the men (Husbands/Fathers). Some of you would be amazed at how ignorant some of the sisters are because their husbands do not teach them. I knew of a sister who was Muslim for a couple of years that did not even know her salaat completely because her husband did not teach her.
Some may not know this, but women had an important role in the collection of hadith going back to the time of the Tabieen. Women such as Hafsa, the daughter of Muhammad Ibn Sireen, and Rawaahah, the daughter of Imaam Al 'Awzaa'e who was a narrator that carried ijaazah through her father, among others held important positions as Hadith narrators.
Umm ad-Darda and 'Amra bint 'Abdir-Rahman were also from amongst the female hadith scholars of the period of the tabieen. 'Amra was considered a great authority on traditions related by A'isha. Among her students was Abu Bakr ibn Hazm who was a famous judge of Madinah of his time.
Also during the time of Imam Maalik, was a woman known as 'Aabidah Al Madinah. She was from the freed slave girls of Madeenah and narrated from Imam Maalik to the point where it was said that she narrated 20,000 ahadith.
Women remained very important in the collection of the ahadith well into the period when the famous collections of hadith were compiled. All of the important compilers of hadith received many of their narrations from women and every major collection gives the names of many women as the immediate authorities of the author. And even after these works were compiled, the women hadith scholars mastered them as well and taught others to whom they would issue their own ijazas.
Here are some other interesting facts:
- Many of Imam Ahmad's students were women including Maymunah bint al- Aqra`, Khadijah Umm Ahmad, Makhtah, the sister of Bishr bin al-Harith, Umm Salih `Abbasah bint al-Fadl (Imam Ahmad's first wife), Rayhanah (Imam Ahmad's cousin and 'Abdullah's mother. He married her when Umm Salih died.), and Husn.
- The great hadith scholar Abu Dawood's granddaughter Fatima was also a scholar of hadith.
- Imam Ath-Thahabi had many female teachers whom he used to praise including: Khadeejah Bint Yusuf, 'Amatul 'Azeez Al Baghdaadiyyah (Thumma Dimashqiyyah), Faatimah Bint Ibraheem Ibn Mahmood Ibn Jawhar, Hadiyyah Bint 'Abdul Hameed Al Maqdisiyyah, and Hadiyyah Bint 'Alee Al Baghdaadiyyah.
- Ibn Qudaamah's daughters, Raabi'ah and Ruqayyah, were both scholars of their own merit who had ijaazahs from their father.
- Ibn Hajr received an ijaazah from Zaynab Bint 'Uthmaan Ibn Dimashqee and had several other women teachers. Also there was Zaynab Bintu Yahyah Bint 'Izzud Deen As Sulamee who narrated the book Mu'jam As Sagheer of Tabaraani. Fatima bint al-Hasan ibn Ali ibn al-Daqqaq al-Qushayri, a scholar who was known not only for her great knowledge of hadith, the chains of narrators, and her mastery of calligraphy, but for her great piety.
Karima al-Marwaziyya was a central figure in the transmission of Sahih al-Bukhari and was considered the best authority of it in her time. Abu Dharr of
Herat, one of the leading scholars of the period, held her scholarship in such high regard that he advised his students not to study the Sahih of al- Bukhari under anyone else. Among her students were al-Khateeb al-Baghdadi and al-Humaydi.
I could have gone on and on listing the names of great women scholars throughout Islamic history who achieved as much as many of the men of this Ummah (May Allah have mercy upon them all) and in some cases were considered amongst their peers to be the BEST (bar none) of their time in their fields, but for the sake of brevity I will keep it short because I just wanted to make this point/reminder to benefit everyone.
I hope that someone will put together a collection of biographies of the female scholars into a book to be distributed in the English language. To my knowledge this hasn't been done and I think this project would be a very beneficial and a wonderful inspiration to Muslim women and girls who are seekers of knowledge.
© December 31, 2003.
Abdullah Ibn Sailam
Al-Husayn ibn Sailam was a Jewish rabbi in Yathrib who was widely respected and honoured by the people of the city even by those who were not Jewish. He was known for his piety and goodness, his upright conduct and his truthfulness.
Al-Husayn lived a peaceful and gentle life but he was serious, purposeful and organized in the way he spent his time. For a fixed period each day, he would worship, teach and preach in the temple. Then he would spend some time in his orchard, looking after date palms, pruning and pollinating. Thereafter, to increase his understanding and knowledge of his religion, he would devote himself to the study of the Torah.
In this study, it is said he was particularly struck by some verses of the Torah which dealt with the coming of a Prophet who would complete the message of previous Prophets. Al-Husayn therefore took an immediate and keen interest when he heard reports of the appearance of a Prophet in Makkah. He said:
"When I heard of the appearance of the Messenger of God, peace be on him, I began to make enquiries about his name, his genealogy, his characteristics, his time and place and I began to compare this information with what is contained m our books. From these enquiries, I became convinced about the authenticity of his prophethood and I affirmed the truth of his mission. However, I concealed my conclusions from the Jews. I held my tongue...
Then came the day when the Prophet, peace be on him, left Makkah and headed for Yathrib. When he reached Yathrib and stopped at Quba, a man came rushing into the city, calling out to people and announcing the arrival of the Prophet. At that moment, I was at the top of a palm tree doing some work. My aunt, Khalidah bint al-Harith, was sitting under the tree. On hearing the news, I shouted:
'Allahu Akbar! Allahu Akbar! (God is Great! God is Great!' When my aunt heard my takbir, she remonstrated with me: 'May God frustrate you...By God, if you had heard that Moses was coming you would not have been more enthusiastic.'
'Auntie, he is really, by God, the 'brother' of Moses and follows his religion. He was sent with the same mission as Moses.' She was silent for a while and then said: 'Is he the Prophet about whom you spoke to us who would be sent to confirm the truth preached by previous (Prophets) and complete the message of his Lord?' 'Yes,' I replied.
Without any delay or hesitation, I went out to meet the Prophet. I saw crowds of people at his door. I moved about in the crowds until I reached close to him. The first words I heard him say were:
'O people! Spread peace...Share food...Pray during the night while people (normally) sleep... and you will enter Paradise in peace...'
I looked at him closely. I scrutinized him and was convinced that his face was not that of an imposter. I went closer to him and made the declaration of faith that there is no god but Allah and that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah.
The Prophet turned to me and asked: 'What is your name?' 'Al-Husayn ibn Sailam,' I replied.
'Instead, it is (now) Abdullah ibn Sallam,' he said (giving me a new name). 'Yes,' I agreed. 'Abdullah ibn Sailam (it shall be). By Him who has sent you with the Truth, I do not wish to have another name after this day.'
I returned home and introduced Islam to my wife, my children and the rest of my household. They all accepted Islam including my aunt KhaIidah who was then an old lady. However, I advised them then to conceal our acceptance of Islam from the Jews until I gave them permission. They agreed.
Subsequently, I went back to the Prophet, peace be on him, and said: 'O Messenger of God! The Jews are a people (inclined to) slander and falsehood. I want you to invite their most prominent men to meet you. (During the meeting however), you should keep me concealed from them in one of your rooms. Ask them then about my status among them before they find out of my acceptance of Islam. Then invite them to Islam. If they were to know that I have become a Muslim, they would denounce me and accuse me of everything base and slander me.'
The Prophet kept me in one of his rooms and invited the prominent Jewish personalities to visit him. He introduced Islam to them and urged them to have faith in God...They began to dispute and argue with him about the Truth. When he realized that they were not inclined to accept Islam, he put the question to them:
'What is the status of Al-Husayn ibn Sailam among you?'
'He is our sayyid (leader) and the son of our sayyid. He is our rabbi and our alim (scholar), the son of our rabbi and alim.'
'If you come to know that he has accepted Islam, would you accept Islam also?' asked the Prophet.
'God forbid! He would not accept Islam. May God protect him from accepting Islam,' they said (horrified).
At this point I came out in full view of them and announced: 'O assembly of Jews! Be conscious of God and accept what Muhammad has brought. By God, you certainly know that he is the Messenger of God and you can find prophecies about him and mention of his name and characteristics in your Torah. I for my part declare that he is the Messenger of God. I have faith in him and believe that he is true. I know him.'
'You are a liar,' they shouted. 'By God, you are evil and ignorant, the son of an evil and ignorant person.' And they continued to heap every conceivable abuse on me..."
Abdullah ibn Sailam approached Islam with a soul thirsty for knowledge. He was passionately devoted to the Quran and spent much time reciting and studying its beautiful and sublime verses. He was deeply attached to the noble Prophet and was constantly in his company.
Much of his time he spent in the masjid, engaged in worship, in learning and in teaching. He was known for his sweet, moving and effective way of teaching study circles of Sahabah who assembled regularly in the Prophet's mosque.
Abdullah ibn Sallam was known among the Sahabah as a man from ahl-al-Jannah "- the people of Paradise. This was because of his determination on the advice of the Prophet to hold steadfastly to the "most trustworthy handhold" that is belief in and total submission to God.
Courtesy of ISL Software, makers of the WinAlim Islamic database.
An-Nisa Hope Center
An-Nisa Hope Center is a non-profit 501(c) (3) organization working to prevent domestic violence in our community. We provide the structured support system needed to regain self-sufficiency and a permanent place in society.
An-Nisa opened its doors in 2009 and has handled many serious domestic violence cases, spousal abuse, parental abuse, and spousal and child abandonment.
Services We Provide
We diligently strive to provide support for families and individuals who are finding themselves in difficult situations. An-Nisa is working to educate and counsel these families to prevent separation. Counseling is the main factor of our success.
We have many qualified counselors that are readily available for one-on-one counseling and support groups.
When all efforts are exerted, An-Nisa provides a transitional homes for women and their children who are in need of support.
An-Nisa' networks with several medical and legal professionals to provide care and services for families in need. We provide referrals to many state and community-based programs and services.
Our mission at An Nisa Hope Center is to provide counseling, emergency shelter, crisis intervention, education, and advocacy for families who are victims of domestic violence.
An-Nisa is committed to provide support and resources to victims and survivors of abuse and domestic violence.
Our goal is to educate and counsel our community in order to recognize domestic violence and abuse. It is especially important to educate the younger generations to prevent them from being abused or becoming abusers in their adult lives.
An-Nisa Hope Center
3-Day Da'wah Event at ICSGV
Brothers Mujahid Fletcher and Adbdullah Hernandez will inshAllah speak
Day 1: Thursday, March 10th
Day 2: Friday, March 11th
Day 3: Saturday March 12th
"How to Give Da'wah to the Latino Community"
*There will be two separate lectures, one in English and one in Spanish
Event: Through the Eyes of Latino Muslims
Wednesday, March 2, 2011, 5:30-8:00
New York University, Kimmel Room 909
Join us as we learn from Latinos and Latinas about their experiences with Islam and the Latino culture. Some have converted, some were born as Muslims, but each individual has a unique story and perspective.
We will be having Hispanic food from La Isla.
Hope to see you Wednesday!
"Through the Eyes of Latino Muslims" turned out to be quite lovely!
March 03, 2011
The event was supposed to start at 5:30 but one of the guest speakers, a representative of the Latino American Dawah Association (LADO), got held up (he/she was actually unable to make it, unfortunately) so we didn't get started until around 6:00.
We began by praying maghrib, which was wonderful because I usually pray alone, so I jumped on the opportunity to pray with others.
Once we finished, there was an "ice-breaker" exercise where each row of students got a post-it with a "fact" about Latinos/Muslims written on it, and it was our job to decide whether the fact was true or false.
Some "facts" (I use parentheses because I'm not quite sure how "factual" all of these statistics are):
There are around 40,000 Latino Muslims in the US today.
After our ice-breaker, two Latina sisters came up to act as panelists for discussion. One sister was an older Chilean convert from Catholicism, the other was a young Puerto Rican sister who was born Muslim.
Represenatives from both NYU's United Muslim Association and Latinos Unidos Con Honor & Amistad asked the panelists a series of questions, dealing with clashes between Islamic culture and Latino culture, the experience of living/growing up as a Latino Muslim, challenges of conversion and perceptions of Latino Muslims in both the Latino community and the Islamic community.
The older sister was absolutely adorable, mashallah! She was so full of life and spirit, and hearing her story brought out many emotions within me. She converted after 9.11 and told us about various instances where she was harassed, pushed and even spat on by strangers just for wearing her hijab. She also told us about the struggle with familial acceptance and the lack of support, particularly from her mother, but even while sharing these intimate, heartbreaking details one could tell that her faith had never been shaken. She was so positive and supportive, it was absolutely amazing.
The other sister was hilarious and spoke very eloquently, mashallah, but that older woman really captured my heart - so much so that I head to approach her after the event ended to tell her so! After I told her I was also a Latina convert she insisted I take her e-mail and message her if I ever needed advice or support or anything.
Overall the experience was wonderful, alhamdulillah. Another sister from the UMA invited me to juma'a prayers, which was incredibly kind of her. Inshallah I'll be able to attend one day!
Event: Islamic Roots in the Latino Culture
- Sabías que la palabra "Ojala" viene de "Oh Allah!?
***The same lecture will be held by Rockford Dawah in Rockford Il on Saturday, February 19th.
Islamic Roots in the Latino Culture
- Did you know that the word "ojala" comes from "Oh Allah"?
***Esta invitación es para el público en general. Todos son bienvenidos.
Video: Islamic Roots in the Latino Culture - Part 1, Part 2, Part 3