The Latino Muslim Voice
The October-December 2004 newsletter features:
Quotes of the Month
Ramadan is Here
By Asma Sadia
One night I heard a knock on my door;
An air of happiness fills the space;
For Allah(SWT) we fast from dawn to dusk;
And those who shun this sacred month;
A feeling of grief now fills my heart;
By Noor Syed
In the name of Allah, the most Merciful, the most Kind
A blessed month is casting its shadow upon us
Glory be to Allah who sent Ramadan as a mercy to mankind
Glorified is He, who choseth this holy month,
Ya Allah! For thee, let my breath be more pleasant than musk
Ya Allah! For thee, my life I shall live!
The Second Annual Hispanic Muslim Day
By Shinoa Matos
Sister Nylka Vargas, an organizer for the event, gave her account of her conversion and life as it stands now as a Hijab-wearing Muslimah and Brother Victor Muhammad retold his experience upon reading the Qur'an for the very first time.
The program began with a beautiful Qur'anic recitation, which was soon followed by the various speakers. A few guests were gifted with bags filled with a prayer outfit, Islamic literature, prayer rugs and more. Even the kids got something out it. The Imam called out a few questions on Islamic history and two children answered correctly, receiving prizes.
At the time of Asr prayer, the nonMuslims were encouraged to follow the men and women to the prayer area and watch how the Islamic prayer was performed. The evening was topped off with food cooked by the sisters as well as cake and drinks. The official end time of the program was 5pm, but guests happily stayed well past 6:30pm.
Latino Muslim Cultural Night
By Kathryn Espinoza
It's the night of August 20, 2004, and my heart is smiling, reflecting my face, as I sit here on this now empty stage, looking upon this now empty hall that about two hours ago was full of approximately 250 Muslims ranging from all corners of the globe. I'm still. I'm free. I'm happy. The ummah is now complete...I think to myself. Thinking back in my memory bank to 4:30 pm: the arrival of the enchiladas de pollo, the ones sisters and brothers slaved over the night before. Picture this...a garage turned kitchen with Mexicanos, Mexicano-Pakistanis, Salvadorenos, Bolivianos, and Chicana converts. Di lo que tu quieras, pero todo son Musulmanes... preparing meat, shredding cheese, pinching salt, cutting papel picado and taping them to string all while carrying on Spanglish conversation of Islam and conversion stories.
It's now approaching 7:30 pm, and the hall is filled with gente del mundo. Those in attendance are from South Asia, South East Asia, Northern Europe, Africa, Middle East, and now Latin America. We are united under one roof. I smile. This is a dream.
In the three years that I've been Muslim, the extent of my Latino Muslim interactions were sometimes held in casual conversations with 'people who knew people' who were Latino and Muslim or Latino and studying Islam. "Give me their contact information!" I would often say. An agreement was made to send it my way, and that was usually the end of that. Or, I'd make an occasional visit to Zaytuna Institute where the Hayward Latino Muslims were gathering for Barbacoa de carne asada on Saturdays. Or, I'd catch an occasional presentation at San Jose State University of brother Daniel's research of the Aztec calendar, Islam, and Muslims in the Americas before Columbus. A 'one hit wonder' of Bay Area Latinas gathering for halal enchiladas was one of my favorites. All of these interactions were beautiful, and I always hoped all these different communities of Latino Muslims would join together.
And so it happened, a brother was contacted from the MCA in hopes to put on a Latino Muslim Cultural Night on August 20, 2004. The initial meeting would take place on a Wednesday to talk logistics and start planning. "Tell every Latino Muslim you know and ask them to be there". I walked in the conference room where the meeting was to be held to familiar and unfamiliar faces. My soul brightened to see both. But Subhanallah! How exciting to see so many new faces! Some I'd heard about but hadn't really met so this was big to me.
Our meetings usually got stuck around food- What cultural dishes would be most appropriate for 250 people on a virtually non-existent budget? "If we go on the east side, we could get banana chips for cheap" and "My mom is in town and she could marinate the Carne." "We have to have rice and beans, but what style beans? Black or Pinto beans?" "Central American style, Carribean style or Mexicano style?" "Yucca or Papas?" My thoughts...'what a blessing, so many cultures and customs within the blanket of Latinos.' We eventually figured it out...alhumdullilah.
Hijole...man! It's late. My work here is complete but not yet done. I'm one of three sisters whom are the last to leave. My feet hurt. The pan dulce was a huge success. There's some spilled salsa on the floor that we all see, yet not ready to pick up. Instead we sit in peace, enjoying our new found sisterhood in each other. This evening the moon is about half way full and California air is crispy fresh, making its way through the tinted glass doors of the Masjid. This night was captivating.
Perhaps it was the presentation of veterano Mechista, activista, y maestro Daniel Islam Denton Casillas. Islam spoke of the Islamic Legacy in the Americas in regards to when and how Muslims came to be in Latin America. Muslim Immigration by means of economics and world wars would be the most historically recent form of Muslims coming to the Americas. Before this, there was slavery. Slavery brought literate, learned Muslims from many western countries of Africa and brought to the Americas in the north, central and south regions. History tells us that Muslims were known to escape slavery to form their own maroon societies, such as in regions of the south of the United States, as well as states in Mexico such as Veracruz and also Brazil of the south. Pre-Columbian Islamic Influence he spoke of would be the first form of Muslims in Latin America in pre-Columbian history. Proofs of this were found in many artifacts, coinage, and ancient scripts with Islamic connections.
Following this was the photo presentation illustrating lush mountainous landscapes or Chiapas, Mexico where 300 indigenous Mayans became Muslim, or the faces and Masjids of Venezuela, Brazil, Bolivia, Belize, Mexico, Ecuador, New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, and the Bay Area. My jaw dropped to hear a shahada story of a Bolivian-American sister who is the first of 15 members of her family to convert, most of which are still in Bolivia. Subhanallah!
Whether is was the poetry, the food, the presentations or the shahada stories, it was a beautiful night that opened the doors for organizing, networking, and unifying for Latino Muslims of the Bay Area, which is ultimately what we decided to call ourselves. Our group picture was taken putting us officially on the map A follow up BBQ was planned to continue the momentum. Within the last month there have been at least 2 new Latinos embrace Islam in the Bay Area. Insha'Allah the efforts will continue to provide dawaa and education to those that are interested in this way of life.
Halal Fajitas Barbeque
By Abu'Maya Gomez
In the Bay Area [San Francisco, Oakland, San Jose, etc], the Muslim population is well established with mosques centrally located throughout the area. Yet the Latinos receiving Islam is a very scanty effort, and some converts to Islam are left without any assistance. The Zaytuna outreach coordinator asked the Latinos in his class to start a gathering for Latinos to assist each other with our social, psychological, and new Islamic identities.
In 2003, phone calls and e-mails were sent to encourage Latino Muslims to meet on Saturdays from 3:00 - 5:00pm on the Zaytuna grounds. The meetings were basically a way to help everyone to get to know one other and to bridge our emptiness within the Muslim community. By telling our stories of conversion and its trials, our gatherings became a place of comfort and solace. Through our gatherings, some of us became good friends and still to this day, we hold those friendships very dear.
We decided that teaching Islam was not our aim or goal, because we were already attending classes with qualified teachers to teach our Deen. What we did decide to do was to pick social and religious topics and give a presentation on those topics according to our level of understanding. Masha'Allah, some brothers and sisters took the topics very seriously and spent much time in preparation. At one point, we had a Mexican, a non-Muslim, give a presentation according to his knowledge about who Jesus (PBUH) was in Islam and Christianity. He came well prepared with useful information that we all benefited from.
After several months of meeting, we decided to have a barbeque, our style---minus the Coronas. We planned the event and decided to have fajitas (carne asada), beans, and aroz. The event went extremely well. Zaytuna considered it a great tool for dawah, and they asked us to keep on with the events. We had a total of three barbeques this year. Insha'Allah, in 2005 we will continue our gatherings along with our picnics in order to understand ourselves as Latinos and Muslims.
The Joy of The Children
By Rebecca Abu Qaoud
Assalam Waleikum Warahmatulla Wabarakatuhu!
I have to share a wonderful experience that my children and I had recently. This is the second year that I have attended the Eid Festival organized by the Chicago Association of Latino-American Muslims (CALAM). This is a new occurrence in my personal experience. I have attended other Eid Festivals since becoming Muslim, and I have come to appreciate its importance.
Eid-ul-Fitr was not really meaningful to me at the begining as a new Muslim. My husband was a great source of information in understanding this Islamic festival. I learned to enjoy it by experiencing it with the Islamic community. Now as a mother of two small children, five and three years old, I was delighted to see the joy of my children at the recent Eid Festival that we attended.
The joy of my children is my joy too. To see that they are also learning the meaning of Eid-ul-Fitr brings me satisfaction. During the month of Ramadan, I sat down with them to explain the meaning of Ramadan, and after its period, Eid-ul-Fitr comes. I did my best to explain these important topics at their level. They were waiting anxiously for Eid, because I told them that they would receive a gift.
Children definitively enjoy gifts, and they eventually would learn the real meaning of Eid. "Mommy, look, my pony," said my daughter, and my son asked me to open a box which contained a small robot. They received the gifts from the brothers at the Eid Festival.
"Mommy, I hit the pinata," my daughter said with a big smile on her face.
"Mommy, I want to come back again," said my son.
"InshaAllah, my dear we will come back," I replied.
It is my pleasure to discuss this blessed experience with you. I'm almost positive that whoever attended this year's Eid festival had a blessed day. May Allah bless the organizers who put their effort together. A great phenomenon that is going on in the Islamic community sponsored by Latino Muslims.
Normas generales en el mes del Ramadán
EL CENTRO ISLAMICO DEL ECUADOR
NORMAS GENERALES EN LA OBSERVANCIA DE AYUNO DEL MES ISLAMICO DE RAMADÁN
"! CREYENTES!. SE OS HA PRESCRITO EL AYUNO, AL IGUAL QUE SE PRESCRIBIO A LOS QUE OS PREDECIERON. QUIZAS ASI TEMAIS A ALAH (DIOS) ". - SURA AL-BAQARA: 183
¿EN QUÉ CONSISTE EL AYUNO?
El ayuno de Ramadán es una orden de Dios y una purificación, que consiste en la abstinencia total de la bebida, comida, relaciones matrimoniales y otros detalles más que puntualizaremos.
¿QUÉ TIEMPO DEL DIA?
Comienza desde el amanecer hasta la puesta del sol.
¿QUÉ TIEMPO DEL AÑO?
El mes de Ramadán, que es el noveno del calendario Islámico.
¿PARA QUIÉN ES OBLIGATORIO?
El ayuno es una obligación inexcusable, pues su mandato esta claramente especificado por ALAH (SUBHANA WATA 'ALA), en el Cor-án:
"AQUEL QUE PRESENCIE EL MES DE RAMADÁN, QUE LO AYUNE".
El ayuno del mes, es obligatorio para todo musulmán, hombre o mujer, que haya alcanzado la mayoría de edad (de acuerdo a la Sharía), que se encuentre gozando de plenas facultades mentales y físicas. Existen las siguientes categorías:
1) Obligatoria: a) el mes de Ramadán. b) promesa personal de ayuno. c) expiación de faltas.
El día de Arafat. El día de Ashura y otros establecidos en la Tradición Profética.
DIAS PROHIBIDOS DE AYUNO:
1) Los días de las fiestas de los dos EID anuales.
CONDICIONES PARA EL AYUNO:
Tener la intención de ayunar por complacer a ALAH en su ordenanza establecida.
LO QUE QUEBRANTA LA LEY SAGRADA DEL AYUNO Y QUE OBLIGATORIAMENTE NECESITA SER EXPIADO:
Por cada día quebrantado intencionalmente:
LO QUE ANULA EL AYUNO, EXPIANDO SOLO EL DIA POR DIA.
1) Medicamentos en gotas para la nariz o el oído (sintiendo el sabor en la garganta).
LO QUE NO ANULA EL AYUNO.
1) Comida o bebida sin intención (olvido).
NO ANULA EL AYUNO, PERO ES PREFERIBLE EVITARLO.
1) Atrazar el Iftar (desayuno), con intención.
ALGUNOS PARÁMETROS PERMITIDOS PARA EL AYUNANTE
1) Exhalar aromas fragantes de flores.
ES SUNNAH DURANTE EL AYUNO.
1) Atrazar el Sojur (Comida de la madrugada , antes de empezar el ayuno).
RAZONES QUE PERMITEN NO AYUNAR.
1) La enfermedad.
Es importante evitar completamente palabrería vulgar, soez, mentiras, rencillas, peleas y en general actos desonestos, que estén involucrados los cinco sentidos del cuerpo y que puedan poner en grave peligro el cumplimiento de esta LEY SAGRADA DEL AYUNO.
DU'A (súplica) para el momento de la ruptura del ayuno:
EL CENTRO ISLAMICO DEL ECUADOR, MEZQUITA "ASSALAAM", HACE LOS MAS FERVIENTES VOTOS PORQUE ALAH (DIOS) TODO PODEROSO ACEPTE NUESTRA PURIFICACION DEL AYUNO, Y CULMINE CON UNA FELIZ FIESTA DEL "EID" Y UN AÑO LLENO DE BENDICIONES.
Ramadan In History
By Sheikh Abdullah Hakim Quick. Ph.D.
The Message - Canada / January 1997
All praises to Allah (SWT), Lord of the worlds. He who revealed in His Glorious Quran, "Oh you who believe, fasting is prescribed for you as it was prescribed for those who came before you that you may keep your duty to your Lord (having taqwa)," 2:185. And may blessings and-peace of Allah (SWT) be upon His last Messenger Muhammad ibn Abdullah, forever.
Oh you who believe, Ramadan is a sacred month wherein Almighty Allah (SWT) is constantly testing His creation and giving humanity the opportunity to achieve infinite, endless Bliss. Fasting is a complete purification and a means to developing the consciousness of Allah's (SWT) presence. The consciousness of Allah (SWT), Taqwa, is a protection against the schemes of Shaitan, and the suffering of this world. Allah (SWT) has informed us that, "Whoever keeps his duty to Allah (has taqwa), He ordains a way out for him and gives him sustenance from where he imagines not. And whoever trusts in Allah, He is sufficient for him. Surely Allah attains His purpose. Allah has appointed a measure for everything." (65:2)
Many Muslims today have a misconception about fasting and the activities of a fasting person. They go into a state of semi-hibernation, spending most of their daylight hours in bed. If they fear Allah (SWT) , they wake up for prayer, but then return to sleep immediately. This unnatural sleep makes them become lazy, dull witted and often cranky.
Ramadan is actually a time of increased activity wherein the believer, now lightened of the burdens of constant eating and drinking, should be more willing to strive and struggle for Allah (SWT). The Prophet (pbuh) passes through approximately nine Ramadans after the Hijrah. They were filled with decisive events and left us a shining example of sacrifice and submission to Allah (SWT).
In the first year after the Hijrah, the Prophet (pbuh) sent Hamza ibn Abdul Muttalib with thirty Muslim riders to Saif al Bahr to investigate three hundred riders from Quraish who had camped auspiciously in that area. The Muslims were about to engage the disbelievers, but they were separated by Majdy ibn Umar al-Juhany. The Hypocrites of Al-Madinah, hoping to oppose the unity of the Muslims, built their own masjid (called Masjid al-Direr). The Prophet (pbuh) ordered this masjid to be destroyed in Ramadan. On the seventeenth of Ramadan, 3 A.H., Almighty Allah (SWT) separated truth from falsehood at the Great Battle of Badr. The Prophet (pbuh) and 313 of his companions set out to intercept a caravan of their own goods that had been left in Makkah. It was led by Abu Sufyan, himself, and estimated at 60,000 dinars. They were met, instead, by a well equipped army of the nobility of Quraish, intent on putting out the light of Islam. Despite being outnumbered three to one and appearing weak and unseasoned, the Muslims defended their faith with a burning desire to protected the Prophet and meet their Lord through martyrdom. Allah (SWT) gave them a decisive victory on this day of Ramadan, that would never to be forgotten.
In 6 A.H., Zaid ibn Haritha was sent to Wadi al-Qura at the head of a detachment to confront Fatimah bint Rabiah, the queen of that area. Fatimah had previously attacked a caravan led by Zaid and had succeeded in plundering its wealth. She was known to be the most protected woman in Arabia, as she hung fifty swords of her close relatives in her home. Fatimah was equally renowned for showing open hostility to Islam. She was killed in a battle against these Muslims in the month of Ramadan. By Ramadan of 8 A H., the treaty of Hudaibiyya had been broken and the Muslim armies had engaged the Byzantines in the North. Muhammad (pbuh) felt the need to strike a fatal blow to disbelief in the Arabian Peninsula and conquer the city of Mecca. Allah (SWT) had declared His Sanctuary a place of peace, security and religious sanctity. Now the time had come to purify the Kaabah of nakedness and abomination. The Prophet (pbuh) set out with an army having more armed men than Al-Madinah had ever seen before. People were swelling the army's ranks as it moved toward Makkah. The determination of the believers, guided by the Will of Allah (SWT), became so awesome that the city of Makkah was conquered without a battle, on - 20 Ramadan. This was one of the most important dates in Islamic history for after it, Islam was firmly entrenched in the Arabian Peninsula. During the same month and year, after smashing the idols of Makkah, detachments were sent to the major centers of polytheism and al-Lat, Manat and Suwa, some of the greatest idols of Arabia, were destroyed.
Such was the month of Ramadan in the time of the Prophet (pbuh). It was a time of purification, enjoining the good, forbidding evil, and striving hard with one's life and wealth. After the death of the Prophet (pbuh), Muslims carried on this tradition and Allah used the true believers to affect the course of history. Ramadan continued to be a time of great trials and crucial events.
Ninety-two years after the Hujrah, Islam had spread across North Africa, Iran, Afghanistan, Yemen and Syria. Spain was under the tyrannical rule of King Roderic of the Visigoths. Roderic had forced his six million serfs and persecuted Jews to seek the aid of the Muslims of North Africa in order to be delivered. Musa ibn Husair, the Umayyad governor of North Africa, responded by sending his courageous general Tariq ibn Ziyad at the head of 12,000 Berber and Arab troops In Ramadan of that year, they were confronted with a combined Visigoth army of 90,000 Christians led by Roderic, himself, who was seated on a throne of ivory silver, and precious gems and drawn by white mules. After burning his boats, Tariq preached to the Muslims warning them that and Paradise lay ahead of them and defeat and the sea to the rear. They burst with great enthusiasm and Allah (SWT) manifested a clear victory over the forces of disbelief. Not only was Roderic and his forces completely annihilated, but Tariq and Musa succeeded in liberating whole of Spain, Sicily and of France. This was the begining of the Golden Age of Al-Andalus where Muslims ruled for over 700 years.
In the year 682 A.H., Salahuddin al-Ayyubi, after battling with the Crusaders for years, finally drove them out of Syria and the whole of their occupied lands in the month of Ramadan. The Muslim world was then destined to meet one of its most frightening challenges.
In the seventh century A.H. the Mongols were sweeping across Asia destroying everything that lay in their path Genghis Khan called himself "the scourge of God sent to punish humanity for their sins. "In 617 A.H. Samarkand, Ray, And Hamdan were put to the sword causing more than 700,000 people to be killed or made captive. In 656 A.H. Hulagu, the grandson of Genghis Khan, continued this destruction. Even Baghdad, the leading city of the Muslim world, was sacked. Some estimates say that as many as 1,800,000 Muslims were killed in this awesome carnage. The Christians were asked to eat pork and drink wine openly while the surviving Muslims were forced to participate in drinking bouts. Wine was sprinkled in the masjids and no Azan (call to prayer) was allowed. In the wake of such a horrible disaster and with the threat of the whole Muslim world. and then Europe being subjected to the same fate, Allah (SWT) raised up from the Mamluks of Egypt, Saifuddin Qutz, who, united the Muslim army and met the Mongols at Ain Jalut on 26th Ramadan, 468 A.H. Although they were under great pressure, the Muslims with the help of Allah (SWT), cunning strategy and unflinching bravery, crushed the Mongol army and reversed this tidal wave of horror. The whole of the civilized world sighed in relief and stood in awe at the remarkable achievement of these noble sons of Islam.
This was the spirit of Ramadan that enabled our righteous forefathers to face seemingly impossible challenges. It was a time of intense activity, spending the day in the saddle and the night in prayer while calling upon Allah (SWT) for His mercy and forgiveness.
Today, the Muslim world is faced with drought, military aggression, widespread corruption and tempting materialism. Surely we are in need of believers who can walk in the footsteps of our beloved Prophet (pbuh),the illustrious Sahabah, Tariq ibn Ziyad, Qutuz, Salahuddin and the countless heroes of Islam. Surely we are in need of believers who are unafraid of the threats of the disbelievers, yet kind and humble to the believing people; Muslims whose fast is complete and not just a source of hunger and thirst.
May Allah (SWT) raise up a generation of Muslims who can carry Islam to all corners of the globe in a manner that befits our age, and may He give us the strength and the success to lay the proper foundations for them. May Allah (SWT) make us of those who carry out our Islam during Ramadan and after it, and may He not make us of those who say what they do not do. Surely Allah (SWT) and His Angels invoke blessings and peace upon our Prophet Muhammad. Oh you who believe send blessings and peace to him forever.
Two Events in Mexico
Centro Cultural Islamico de Mexico
Fiesta (Open House) del Fin de Ramadhan
Dar as Salaam (Tequesquitengo, morelos), tiene el agrado de invitarlos a un evento (Open house) que dará inicio a las 10:30 AM el Domingo 14 de Noviembre.
Habrá una serie de actividades recreativas (montar a caballo, football, paseo en lancha, nadar etc) y platcias sobre el Islam. Habrá una comida y una gran oportunidad de conviviar con Musulmanes. Estan muy bienvenidos nuestros amigos No Musulmanes a pasra el dia con nosotros.
Hermanos y hermanas si el Domingo 14, cae el dia del Id y quieren hacer su oracion en su localidad, NO HAY inconveniente alguno, es por eso que hemos iniciado las actividades desde las 10:30 AM para que les de tiempo venir a Tequesquitengo. En esta ocasión si la oracion es el Domingo nuestra pequeña comunidad la realizará en Dar as Salaam. Siendo que no tendremos estaremos preparando todo para recibirlos. Quien guste adelantarse el Sabado para pasar más tiempo en Dar As Salaam, bienvenidos aqui los esperamos.
Curso intensivo en Dar As salaam con Isa Garcia y otros
Queridos hermanos y hermanas, habrá un curso intensivo sobre el Islam, en Dar as salaam del Martes 28 de Diciembre (2004) al Domingo 02 de Enero (2005) para hombres y mujeres.
Pasen el año nuevo con sus hermanos Muslims en la mejor compañia.
Estaran con nosotros:
Muhammed Isa Garcia de Argentina, graduado en La Universidad Islamica de la Mecca (Arabia Saudita), estudiante directo de grandes sheikhs como Sheikh Uthaimeen, Sheikh Abul Muhsin Al Abaad, Sheikh Salih Al Fauzen. Autor y traductor de decenas de libros sobre diversos temas Islamicos. www.iiph.com.ar
Sabina Mariam Rigoni, primer y unica Latino-Americana con estudios superiores sobre el Islam. Graduada de la Universidad Islamica de la Mecca, vendrá a compartir su conocimiento.
No dejen pasar esta oportunidad, el curso tiene cupo limitado. Sólamente se pedira una contribucion hacia los costos de alimentación.
En Dar as Salaam se recibiran a los primeros 25 alunmos varones Gratuitamente.
Habra una Casa cerca de Dar as Salaam para las primeras 10 mujeres en inscribirse (gratuitamente).
Para los que no alcansan hospedaje les podremos conseguir descuentos en hoteles cercanos a Dar as sAlaaam si nos avisan prontamente.
Manden sus solicitudes con los siguientes Datos:
Si no eres Musulman, explicar su interes en el Curso.
Manden la socilitud a esta misma dirección.
Brothers and sisters, there will be an intensive course in Mexico on Islam from the 28 December to the 2nd of January. If you want to come or want to send someone you know who could benefit, let us know.
Yours in Islam