The Latino Muslim Voice
The October-December 2008 newsletter features:
Quotes of the Month
Creencia en un solo Dios
Por Dr. Y Mansoor Marican, Ph.D.
La creencia en un Dios
La mera aceptación que existe un
El creyente acepta a Dios en
La única descripción correcta de Dios
En el Corán noble Dios usa el
El nombre árabe "Al-láh" es libre
"No hay otro dios que pueda ser
Al-láh es el único, independiente
Adorando profetas, santos y dioses creado
Dios Todopoderoso da una severa
Éste es el único pecado que Él no perdonará
El Todopoderoso no puede ser
Los que representan a Dios como ser humano,
En el Día de Juicio serán pedidos dar
Fallarán. Estarán seriamente castigado
Creencia en un Dios es la creencia
Desemejante a las cosas creadas que
Creencia en un Dios es la
Dios puede crear cualquier cosa de nada.
Él creó todo en los mundos
La creencia en un Dios es la creencia
Dios no tiene ninguna necesidad.
La creencia en un Dios es la
Cosas creadas se cansan.
El Dios verdadero no se cansa.
Algunos reclaman que Dios tomó seis
Esta demanda es una innovación
La creencia en Dios es la creencia
Todas las cosas que consideramos
Él nos los ha dado con la condición
La creencia en un Dios es la creencia
Todo en la creación no puede satisfacer sus
La creencia en un Dios es la creencia
Él tiene conocimiento completo de
La creencia en Dios es la creencia
Todo vino de Dios y todo volverá cuando
Solamente Dios sabe la duración de cada
La creencia en Dios es la creencia que
En el Día de Juicio, nos resucitarán
Nuestra boca será sellada y nuestras manos
Todos nuestros hechos que habían sido
Nadie puede interceder y hablar por nosotros
La familia y sus amigos no
Solo Dios será el Juez en ese Dia,
La creencia en Dios es la creencia que
El no buscar su ayuda es arrogancia base
Lo que está en los cielos y en la tierra
Para saber más sobre Al-láh, el
Traducción por Shafiq Alvarado
Organización Islámica para América Latina
My Recollections - Imam Training and Hajj, Part I
By Jesus Villarreal
I got an email from a friend of mine about an Islamic studies program in the United Arab Emirates. To be honest with you, it sounded too good to be true. The program would consist of six weeks of Arabic and Islamic studies with the chance to go to Hajj. With an announcement like this, I sought more information. What I found out was that there was going to be a limited number of seats available and the prospective students would have to submit a biography of themselves and an essay stating why they should be chosen.
At the time, I had just graduated college and was about two months married. I discussed this opportunity with my wife who in turn discussed it with my mother in law. My mother in law, being the religious women she is, provided the leverage necessary for me to go and explained to my wife this would be a great thing for us.
I submitted the necessary paper work and my essay. About a week later, I got the news through an email that I was accepted! I would be leaving San Antonio, TX on October 21, 2007 and would fly to Washington, D.C. to meet with officials from the United Arab Emirates Embassy; afterwards, we would fly to the UAE.
I got word from the brother who organized the program I would be flying out of San Antonio with another brother from Austin, TX who was Puerto Rican. I was glad to know there was at least one other Hispanic attending the trip. A few days before my departure, I had exchanged numbers with the brother via email. As I waited in the terminal, I was looking around for the brother. It was easy to spot him; he emerged from the crowd at the terminal wearing a kufi and a thin beard.
I am sure he recognized me because at the time, my beard was getting long enough that I could hide a pencil in it and only see the point and the eraser. We formally introduced each other; his name was Julio Colon, an aspiring lawyer. So there you had it, Julio and Jesus, embarking on a journey that was definitely going to impact the rest of our lives in a positive way.
We arrived in Washington, D.C. with no one to greet us at the airport. I don't remember exactly why that was but Julio and I got a Taxi to the hotel we were going to be staying at. When we arrived at the hotel, I immediately spotted the other group of brothers, by their kufis.
There was an eclectic mix of mostly African American brothers, one Bangladeshi, a lonely Caucasian brother, and to my surprise, there were three other Latino's in the group, making it a total of five! There was Yusuf Maisonet, a Puerto Rican brother who traveled the world as a merchant marine and was now residing in Alabama, Dr. Julio Pino, a Cuban professor of history at Kent State University, and Rafael Jara, a University of Florida student whose father was Chilean and mother was French.
This concoction of Latino's from three different countries was sure to represent the other's who were not fortunate enough to be selected and let the world know Islam is alive and well in the Latino community! We spent a few days in Washington, D.C. visiting the Smithsonian, the Museum of Natural History, and various other sites at the mall. We had welcome dinner at the UAE Embassy with a brief history of the inception of the country.
We took the almost 18 hour flight from Washington, D.C. all the way to Abu Dhabi. When we arrived at the airport, we had a royal reception! Instead of immediately going to pick up our luggage, we were escorted to a very regal looking waiting room fit for a sultan. There, we sipped on fresh juice and were introduced to representatives from the Zayed House of Islamic Culture, our hosts.
After about an hour drive from Abu Dhabi, we arrived in the middle of the night at Al-Ain, the fourth largest city in the Emirates comprised of mainly Emirati nationals with several expatriates from the Indian Subcontinent. We went into the ZHIC complex and were greeted with an awesome meal from Kentucky Fried Chicken! I was amazed on how an American restaurant chain could set up shop half way across the world in a city surrounded by a desert.
I was not naÃ¯ve to the fact that McDonald's is located around the world but I never would have believed KFC existed in the desert! It was amusing to see the Arabic writing on the box of chicken spelling out KFC and it finally hit me that I was not in Texas anymore. After the meal we picked our roommates (in my case it was brother Ali Kennemer, the lonely Caucasian from Dallas, TX) and headed to our dorms.
Honestly, I cannot remember every detail or daily occurrence during my trip as I cannot find my journal, but I will do my best insha Allah to narrate my story from memory.
The next day I was woken up by the sweet sound of the athan coming from the masjid in the ZHIC property. It was awesome! I got up made my wudu and followed the call to prayer. What a sight it was to see the number of Muslim's attending to Fajr prayer! There were at least twice as many attending Fajr, than there has ever been for the Isha prayer at my masjid back in San Antonio!
After the prayer, some people left but the majority gathered around the Imam of the masjid (a tall Azhari trained young Egyptian) as he gave his morning talk. To be quite honest, even though I did not understand anything of what he was saying save "salalahu alayhi wa-salam", I felt privileged to be in the company of Muslims. I was not even sure how many of the brothers from our group understood what he was saying, but that did not matter, I was able to pick up bits and pieces of what the Imam was saying.
Definición de 'Peregrinación (Hayy)'
Por Muhammad ibn Ibrahim Al-Tuwaijri
Definición de "Peregrinación (Hayy)", su condición en la legislación islámica y sus virtudes
I "" Definición de "Peregrinación (Hayy)", su condición en la legislación islámica y sus virtudes
La Peregrinación (Hayy)
Es un acto de adoración a Allah que consiste en el cumplimiento de los ritos de la peregrinación La Meca acorde a la Sunnah del Mensajero de Allah, realizado en un tiempo específico.
La importancia de la Casa Sagrada (la Ka"bah)
Allah dispuso que la Casa Sagrada sea un lugar muy honrado. Estableció a su alrededor la Sagrada Mezquita, y alrededor de la Sagrada Mezquita la ciudad de La Meca, a la que ubicó dentro del Haram (Recinto Sagrado). El Recinto Sagrado se encuentra delimitado por los MauáqÃ®t (límites) que están situados dentro de la península árabe. Todo esto evidencia como Allah ha honrado, agraciado y bendecido a Su Casa Sagrada. Allah dice en el Sagrado Corán:
"Ciertamente la primera Casa erigida para los hombres es la de Bakkah [la Ka"bah], en ella hay bendición y guía para la humanidad, también signos evidentes. Entre ellos está el sitial de Abraham. Quien ingrese en ella estará a salvo. Es una obligación para los hombres peregrinar a esta Casa si se encuentran en condiciones de hacerlo [físicas y económicas]. Y quien niegue lo que Allah ha prescripto, sepa que Allah prescinde de todas las criaturas." (Corán 3:96-97)
La sabiduría que encierra la prescripción de la Peregrinación
1. La Peregrinación es una expresión de la hermandad y la unidad de la nación musulmana, ya que este rito reúne a los más diversos tipos de personas, colores, idiomas, nacionalidades y clases sociales. Así se destaca la esencia de la adoración a Allah y la hermandad, pues todos visten la misma vestimenta, se orientan hacia la misma Qiblah y adoran a la misma divinidad.
El veredicto de la Peregrinación en la legislación Islámica
La Peregrinación es uno de los cinco pilares del Islam. Este pilar es obligatorio para todo musulmán, libre, adulto, conciente y pudiente física y económicamente al menos una vez en la vida.
La Peregrinación fue prescrita como obligación en el noveno año de la Hégira. El Profeta (la paz y las bendiciones de Allah sean con él) hizo una sola peregrinación y fue llamado la peregrinación de despedida.
Allah dice en el Corán:
"Es una obligación para los hombres peregrinar a esta Casa si se encuentran en condiciones de hacerlo [físicas y económicas]. Y quien niegue lo que Allah ha prescripto, sepa que Allah prescinde de todas las criaturas". (Corán 3:97)
Es un deber, también, no postergar el cumplimiento de este rito cuando se cuentan con los medios para realizarlo.
Narró Ibn "Omar (Allah se complazca de él) que el Profeta Muhammad (la paz y las bendiciones de Allah sean con él) dijo: "El Islam fue construido sobre cinco pilares: El testimonio de que nada ni nadie tiene derecho a ser adorado salvo Allah, realizar la oración, pagar la contribución social obligatoria, realizar la peregrinación a la Casa de Allah y ayunar el mes de Ramadán".
Quién debe realizar la Peregrinación
La persona que debe realizar la Peregrinación es aquella que goza de buena salud y cuenta con los medios económicos para sufragar los gastos del viaje a La Meca. Siendo prioritario la cancelación de sus deudas inmediatas y cubrir sus propias necesidades básicas y las de quienes están bajo su responsabilidad. Utilizando el excedente de sus ahorros para la realización de la peregrinación.
Quien está económica y físicamente posibilitado para hacer la Peregrinación debe realizarla por sí mismo. Quien tenga posibilidades económicas pero no físicas, debe conseguir alguien que realice la Peregrinación en su nombre. Quien tenga posibilidades físicas pero no económicas, no está obligado a realizar la Peregrinación. Quien no tiene posibilidades físicas ni económicas tampoco tiene la obligación de cumplir con la Peregrinación.
Quien no tiene posibilidades económicas para realizar la Peregrinación puede recibir dinero del Zakát y emplearlo para realizar su Peregrinación ya que se considera una obra que se realiza bajo el concepto de "por la causa de Allah".
Virtudes de la Peregrinación y la "Umrah
1. Abu Hurairah (Allah se complazca con él) relató que el Mensajero de Allah (la paz y las bendiciones de Allah sean con él) fue preguntado: ¿Cuál es la mejor obra? Respondió: "La fe en Allah y Su Mensajero". Se le preguntó: ¿Y luego cuál? Respondió: "El combate para defender la religión de una agresión por la causa de Allah". ¿Y luego cuál? se le preguntó. Respondió: "Realizar la Peregrinación correctamente (Hayy Mabrur)".
Si una persona muere sin realizar la Peregrinación a pesar de haber tenido los medios económicos para hacerlo, se debe destinar parte de su herencia para que alguien realice la Peregrinación en su nombre.
Veredicto sobre la Peregrinación de la mujer sin Mahram
La peregrinación es obligatorio para la mujer que posee un Mahram que la acompañe, como ser: su esposo, padre, hermano, hijo u otros que según la legislación Islámica no pueden casarse con ella bajo ninguna circunstancia. Si el Mahram se niega a acompañarla, ella no tiene la obligación de peregrinar. Si la mujer peregrina sola, su Peregrinación es válida pero comete el pecado de haber viajado sin compañía de un Mahram.
No es permitido que la mujer viaje largas distancias sin la compañía de un Mahram, ya sea para la Peregrinación u otros destinos. No importa si es una mujer joven o anciana, si viaja sola o con un grupo de mujeres, pues el Profeta (la paz y las bendiciones de Allah sean con él) generalizó cuando dijo: "Una mujer no debería viajar sin un Mahram".
Veredicto sobre realizar la Peregrinación en nombre de otra persona
Quien realiza la Peregrinación en nombre de otra persona, ya sea por un anciano, un enfermo incurable o un difunto, puede adoptar el Ihrám desde cualquier MÃ®qát que desee, y no es necesario que inicie el viaje desde la tierra de la persona por la que está realizando la Peregrinación. Nadie puede realizar la Peregrinación en nombre de otra persona sin antes haberlo hecho por sí mismo. Tampoco es necesario que la persona que ha encargado a otra realizar la Peregrinación en su nombre se abstenga de todo lo que está prohibido durante el estado de Ihrám.
Ibn "Abbás (Allah se complazca con él) relató que el Profeta (la paz y las bendiciones de Allah sean con él) se encontró con unos jinetes en la zona de Ar-RawhÃ¢' y preguntó: "¿Quiénes sois?". Le contestaron: "Somos los musulmanes", y le preguntaron: "¿Y tú quién eres?". Respondió (la paz y las bendiciones de Allah sean con él): "El Mensajero de Allah". Entonces una mujer alzó a un niño y preguntó: "¿Acaso a este niño le será aceptada la Peregrinación?" Respondió: "Sí, y tú también serás recompensada".
Está permitido que quien padece alguna enfermedad envíe a otra persona para que realice una Peregrinación voluntaria o una "Umrah en su nombre, pudiéndole pagar o no por sus servicios.
No es necesario terminar o compensar los ritos faltantes de quien muere mientras realiza la Peregrinación, pues el Día de la Resurrección será resucitado pronunciando la Talbiah. No es lícito hacer la Peregrinación o dar limosna en nombre de quien muere sin haber rezado nunca, pues no se lo considera musulmán.
El Ihrám de la mujer que está menstruando o atravesando el puerperio
La mujer que está menstruando o atravesando el puerperio puede bañarse y adoptar el Ihrám para la Peregrinación o la "Umrah. A pesar de su estado, puede permanecer con el Ihrám y realizar todos los ritos de la Peregrinación, salvo la circunvalación a la Ka'bah (Tawáf) hasta que se detenga la hemorragia. Cuando esto suceda, debe bañarse nuevamente y completar los ritos de la Peregrinación, para poder abandonar el estado de Ihrám. En caso de haber adoptado el Ihrám para la "Umrah, deberá esperar hasta que la hemorragia finalice para realizar los ritos correspondientes a la "Umrah y luego poder abandonar el estado de Ihrám.
Virtudes de realizar la Peregrinación próxima a la "Umrah
Ibn Mas"ud (Allah se complazca con él) relató que el Mensajero de Allah (la paz y las bendiciones de Allah sean con él) dijo: "Realizad la Peregrinación y la "Umrah, uno próximo al otro, pues ambos ritos eliminan la pobreza y los pecados como el fuelle elimina la suciedad del hierro, el oro y la plata. La recompensa de la Peregrinación correctamente realizada no es otra que el Paraíso".
Veredicto sobre repetir la "Umrah
Es desaconsejable que la persona que ingresó a La Meca para la Peregrinación o la "Umrah salga de ella para realizar otra "Umrah voluntaria. Esto es una innovación (Bid"ah) que ni el Profeta (la paz y las bendiciones de Allah sean con él) ni sus Compañeros lo hicieron, ni en Ramadán ni en otro mes. Es importante saber que el Profeta (la paz y las bendiciones de Allah sean con él) no le ordenó a "Á'ishah (Allah se complazca con ella) hacerlo, sino que le permitió realizarla para aliviar su pesar al ver truncada su "Umrah. Realizar el Tawáf alrededor de la Ka"bah es mejor que salir para realizar una nueva "Umrah.
La "Umrah que "Á'ishah (Allah se complazca con ella) hizo desde At-Tan"Ã®m es una opción exclusiva para las mujeres que a causa de su menstruación no pueden completar la "Umrah que se realiza junto a la Peregrinación. No está prescripto para las mujeres que sí completan su "Umrah, y menos aun para los hombres.
El veredicto legal de la Peregrinación y la "Umrah que realiza un niño
Si un niño adopta el Ihrám para la Peregrinación, éste le valdrá sólo como una peregrinación voluntaria. El niño que ya puede distinguir la naturaleza de sus actos, observará los ritos de la Peregrinación como lo hacen los hombres y las mujeres mayores. Respecto al niño pequeño, su tutor deberá poner la intención del Ihrám por él, cargarlo durante el Tawáf y el Sa"i y arrojar en su nombre las piedras. Es recomendable que el niño que es llevado para la Peregrinación o la "Umrah cumpla con todos los ritos que pueda realizar. Cuando el niño alcance la edad adulta, deberá realizar su Peregrinación obligatoria.
Si un niño hace la Peregrinación, cuando alcance la edad adulta debe realizar su Peregrinación obligatoria correspondiente.
La Peregrinación de un niño es válida, y quien le asiste durante el cumplimiento obtiene gran recompensa. Ibn "Abbás (Allah se complazca con él) relató: Una mujer levantó a su niño y dijo: ¡Mensajero de Allah! ¿Su Peregrinación es válida? Y el Profeta (la paz y las bendiciones de Allah sean con él) le respondió: "Sí, y tú también obtendrás recompensa".
El veredicto legal del ingreso de un idólatra a la Mezquita Sagrada de La Meca
No es lícito que un idólatra ingrese en la Mezquita Sagrada de La Meca. En el resto de las mezquitas, en cambio, sí puede entrar, pero siempre que sea por algún beneficio a la comunidad.
1. Allah dice en el Corán: "¡Oh, creyentes! Por cierto que los idólatras son impuros [de corazón], que no se acerquen pues a la Mezquita Sagrada después de este año [el noveno de la Hégira], y no temáis padecer por ello pobreza o necesidad alguna, que si Allah quiere os proveerá con Su gracia. Ciertamente Allah es Omnisciente, Sabio". (9:28)
2. Abu Hurairah (Allah se complazca con él) relató: El Profeta (la paz y las bendiciones de Allah sean con él) envió un destacamento de caballería en dirección a Nayd, y al volver trajeron prisionero a un hombre de la tribu Banu HanÃ®fah, al que le decían Zumámah Ibn Uzál, y lo ataron a una de las columnas de la mezquita. Entonces el Profeta (la paz y las bendiciones de Allah sean con él) se presentó ante ellos y dijo: "¡Liberad a Zumámah!" Éste se dirigió a unas palmeras cerca de la mezquita, y allí se bañó. Más tarde entró en la mezquita nuevamente y dijo: "Atestiguo que no hay más dios que Allah y que Muhammad es el Mensajero de Allah".
Características del Recinto Sagrado (Haram)
El Recinto Sagrado de La Meca (Al-Haram) tiene características exclusivas; algunas de ellas son: la recompensa por la oración que se realiza él se multiplica enormemente, las faltas cometidas dentro de él son agravadas enormemente, la prohibición del ingreso de los idólatras, la prohibición de agredir e iniciar un combate, cortar sus árboles y sus plantas naturales, recoger los objetos extraviados y cazar animales dentro de sus límites.
En el Recinto Sagrado se encuentra construida la primera Casa para la adoración de Allah dispuesta para la humanidad. Allah dice en el Corán: "Ciertamente la primera Casa erigida para los hombres es la de Bakkah [la Ka"bah], en ella hay bendición y guía para la humanidad, también signos evidentes. Entre ellos está el sitial de Abraham. Quien ingrese en ella estará a salvo. Es una obligación para los hombres peregrinar a esta Casa si se encuentran en condiciones de hacerlo [físicas y económicas]. Y quien niegue lo que Allah ha prescripto, sepa que Allah prescinde de todas las criaturas". (3:96-97)
 Bujari 8 y Muslim 16.
Traducción : Muhammad Isa Garcia. Oficina de Dawa en Rabwah "" Riyadh. Dec. 16, 2007.
From One Muslim to Another (To Khalil Pr)
Introduction: "Here is an interesting discussion by Shaukani, a brother studying at Al-Azhar. It discusses Islam amongst Latinos. I just found this today on the internet. Apparently, he was addressing me in that post on his blog." - Abu Isma'il Khalil Al-Puerto Rikani, April 19, 2008.
Addressing Deficiencies in The Islamic Da'wah to Latinos
November 25, 2007
KhalilPr.Blogspot made some interesting points about the failures of Allianza that I wanted to address.
First my heart goes out to all the Muslim Latinos and I am concerned about the struggles you face so this is a message to the grassroots.
Like the Black Mosque, Muslim Latinos that entered Islam over 30 years back all these inherited the struggle of being minorities and poor and the ramifications of such a state (that is no crime). I can recall off hand Latinos who entered Islam quite some time ago whether they came in through the Nation of Islam the likes of sister Luz who had settled in Ohio migrated from New Jerusalem (New Jersey) or sister MashAllah who was known to young sisters as a mother figure and was part of Jamatu Tabligh (both were Latinas ""Puerto Ricans) all were impacted by the early da'wah.
The da'wah our elders engaged in, may Allah (swt) reward them. In the case of Allianza Islamica they inherited the program of the Young Lords which was the Latino counterpart to the Black Panthers that is history. More specific they form a part of Islamic History in America, a chapter of history that many have "no" idea of and others want to bury.
Muslims early on did not have books, during the time of El-Hajj Malik Ash Shabazz (r) it is said that there was a Sunni Shaikh teaching in New York but many had no access to real knowledge. What we saw during that time was literature from the Ahmadiyyah, Nation of Islam, and Noble Drew Ali and a few other discourses. Later on the early da'wah efforts were laced with Sufism from Turkey and a few other places and from what the Imams in the inner say they caused a lot of damage. The Albanians were in America for a long time but they integrated until they lost their identity and the Muslim community had to buy back one of the oldest masjids in America established by Muslims from overseas back from, non-Muslims because the Albanians let it go into demise.
One of the oldest Masjids in Detroit is now an abandoned neglected building with a big sign on it "Oldest Mosque In America." So the da'wah effort early on was not organized and not funded well or headed by Ulema with the exception of Tablighi Jamaat but even there the Ulema led it from a distance and it was not addressed to the reality of life but wow the things they did. My father in law came was with Jamaat Tabligh in Detroit and he tells me in his time they used to have lines of people to take Shahada. What happened is the scholars in India saw an influx f converts but few went to study and even less became scholars.
Our elders in the Latino and Black Masjid did what they could according to the resources available to them. We should read their efforts as a phase in da'wah no more and no less except that we should respect them for their efforts and contribution and continue to work hopefully with them and this is the biggest challenge. One of the biggest problems that I see in the African American community of which I have had much experience with is this that young brothers learn a little bit of knowledge and then they challenge the Imams but they do not understand that being an Imam requires a lot of leadership and counseling skills and not just book knowledge.
Some years back, for example, Sir Wahaj appeared on the same stage with Hamza Yusuf and we heard the name of Bilal Phillips mentioned with Nuh Ha Mim Keller there was a connection between new and old despite differences. The community split up after the knowledge came and shortly there after the masjid became a battleground for ideas. I understand that people have mistakes but the issue that I feel needs to be addressed is that we must focus on learning and building a foundation rather than focusing on argumentation.
At a basic level everyone is saying the same and that means memorizing Qur'an and learning fiqh and the basics of Aqeeda lik hadith Jibril when the basics are set them we can address other matters until we get to a level where we can deal with differences of opinion. Introducing new Muslims to controversial matters or teaching a new Muslim to judge other Muslims when that person has no knowledge is a disaster and from what I hear from reliable sources this is happening to some of the new Muslims from the Latino community. Latinos must be taught to grow naturally into the larger community.
The Latinos never really built speakers so they were under represented and this was a blessing given that it gave the community chance to grow without really being engrossed in the fitna. Except that now the fitna is spilling over. As far as past da'wah efforts in the Latino community like the older Muslim Latinos from Allianza I think we should see them as part of the process and growth of da'wah then focus on outreach.
Outreach in the Latino community must address a variety of areas.
1. It must address the problem of education in the Latino community. So da'wah should address education for social mobility and for understanding Islam.
(This is a matter which needs study and discussion and adjustment to social needs I hope you can talk to Abdullah Danny from East Bergen, New Jersey he is doing work with the Muslim Latino Community and brother Musa al-Columbee another brother doing social work. If you want to contact them let me know Akh)
Originally appeared online at http://shaukani.wordpress.com/2007/11/25/from-one-muslim-to-another-to-khalil-pr-addressing-deficiencies-in-the-islamic-da%e2%80%99wah-to-latinos/#more-562
Helping to Empower and Heal Urban Communities
By Bonita Lee Penn
The Soul Pitt
The Sankore Center and S.H.E.H.U. Program
The Sankore Center sits as a beacon of light from within the shadows of the urban neighborhood of Pittsburgh's North Side, Federal Street Corridor. The Soul Pitt was honored to be able to sit down with Brother Hamza of the Sankore Center to discuss the mission and programs being utilized to assistant our at-risk-youths, young adults and to help rebuild our communities.
The Sankore School was established in 1985 in Maiurno, Sudan, and in 2002 the Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania Center was established. The Center was named by the Institute founder, Shayhk Muhammad Shareef, after a mosque and school in Timbuktu, Africa. The Sankore Center is a positive vessel filled with the comforts of home, a place of worship, a place of education with a wondrous library of written resources. The Library has beautiful leather bound ancient books written in the original Arabic language along side of other important books that have been translated from Arabic into the English language. The subjects covered in the Sankore Center's Library include those of literature, poetry, community, history and religion. One of the many books Brother Hamza shared with me this evening was a book of poetry written by Nana Asma'u, a West African 19th Century Muslim woman. Nana Asma'u was active in politics, education and social reform, as well as a prolific poet.
In keeping with the attitude of reverence for the word that lies at the heart of Islam, her scholarship and dissemination of it were expressive of the spirit of Islam in both content and form. Not all her poetic verse was theological, but all of it was relevant to some layer of the community. The message she conveys in her works is that worldly greatness is not a worthy aim, but personal goodness, patience and generosity, is what makes a person pious.
Another book was the English translation of The Way of Salvation. He stated this is one of the more popular books he distributes to the musical artists he comes in contact. After reading a few paragraphs I could understand why it is so popular, as it shares with the reader a simple yet sensible guide in weighing carefully your thoughts, your words and deeds, just as your dietary practice plays an important role in your overall health and well-being.
The Sankore Center's doors are opened to people of all ages, ethnic and religious backgrounds and a serene gathering place to meet new friends and participate in healthy discussions and conversations, or a quiet place to enlighten your spirit and open your world to the wonders of new horizons with a good book.
Not only is the Center a place for community gathering and growth but it is also a place of intellect offering an educational curriculum in the study of Islam to students who come from all over to study. As any place which houses literary and intellect there is a presence of visual artistry, such as the portraits and photographs detailing the Muslim way of life. Brother Hamza explained to me the use of the wall chart showing the phases of moon, this chart is used as the Muslim calendar. There were many beautiful and vibrant paintings done by Muslims from across the world, even as far as China. The one I found especially captivating was the Arabic Calligraphy portraits, the artist uses Arabic phrases to compose a picture.
After touring the Center and experiencing a personal overwhelming feeling of peace, comfort and protection, who would think that such as place filled with richness of culture, history and love for community, would be a target of a Federal Bureau of Investigation (F.B.I.) raid? Those who didn't know the existence of the Sankore Center found out through the media as the FBI conducted a raid on the building on a summer day in 2006. With all that has been going on since 9/11 and the establishment of the Homeland Security Unit, the government has been keeping a close eye on those they feel are not living and practicing the normalcy of American life. The public has been led to believe the raid was due to the Center being organized by Muslims, and the government is keeping a watch on the Muslim factors in the U.S. Let the truth be told, as it was the search for the "truth" that led to this raid. This search for truth reaches back to the assassination of Malcolm X. As a public exposed to the Babel of the media and "word on the streets," we all have come to our own conclusions why Malcolm X was assassinated.
The Sankore Center not only offers to the community a place of refuge and understanding, they are reaching out to the communities with the S.H.E.H.U. Program, a collection of preventive programs to assist our youths and young adults to find their way out of the darkness of the street life and equip them with the life skills they need to become sufficient and responsible citizens.
The S.H.E.H.U. Program (Services Helping to Empower and Heal Urban communities) was founded by Brother Hamza and his co-worker and co-founder, Lugman Abdus Salaam. The various programs are built around a social service curriculum designed to work with at-risk-youth and at the same time help rebuild our communities. The important difference between the Shehu programs and the programs offered by other social agencies is that the Shehu programs specialize in the "prevention" of circumstances that are ailing our communities, meaning they address the concerns before they turn into even greater concerns; and the facilitators have first hand knowledge and practice understanding and sensitivity in today's urban youth culture. Not only do the programs address concerns head on, they offer alternative educational tools in character reform, media literacy, youth empowerment and cultural history. The Shehu program uses traditional curriculum from Manuscripts collected from West African Scholars in their teachings.
A genuinely strong connection with the urban youth culture gives these programs a unique twist that enables them to directly connect with the youths on a grass root level that few social programs have. A few titles of the successful Shehu programs are the Underground Railroad; Scholar Warrior, 30 Below; and Life Skills 101. These programs have been implemented in the City schools, community organizations, and in the correctional system.
The Shehu program titled The Underground Railroad was created in Brother Hamza's Teen Action Group Youth Center in Worcester, MA. The idea for this prevention program grew out of Hamza's experiences living in Worcester, MA. He was once a street hustler with ties to the Latin King gang. He knew from experiences that the drug dealers started recruiting children at the age of 10, the age when the at-risk children would be searching for attention and a little bit of money. The Youth Center recruited them at age 9, offering them a healing environment of love and education. This was not an ordinary after school or tutoring program, this was a program that taught the children real life skills and paid them a decent wage for two or three hours of community work a week. The children felt needed and they were accomplishing something good in their community.
One project of great success was the Underground Railroad where each youth would draw a map of their community, marking the safe streets, the safe houses, the safe businesses; and then they would mark the dangerous streets, the dangerous buildings, the dangerous businesses. Who better to know their streets? Once they completed their maps, they went into the schools, the churches and other community organizations and shared what they learned. Once empowered with knowledge they decided on their own to take action in closing down one of their community's dangerous businesses. They went all the way to City Hall with petitions to close down a business that permitted trafficking of drugs, and the youths were victorious. They returned to their community in triumph and celebrated with a cook-out in front of the business they closed down. This was a direct influence of teaching children how to empower themselves with a positive goal, also helping the community as a whole, giving them a sense of great accomplishment. The program in Worcester is funded through the University of Massachusetts.
After the success in Worcester, Hamza moved to Pittsburgh at the urging of his Teacher, Shayhk Muhammad Shareef, and established the Sankore Center and offered the Shehu Programs to Pittsburgh's youths. This was not an easy task, but he knew the communities of Pittsburgh were in dire need of his programs, as he immediately sensed the mistrust of the community towards local government and police and the community's lack of confidence in its youth. There was also a visible blatant of mistreatment of blacks by the police, who seem to have had a Willie Lynch chip implanted in their brains. One major road block is the lack of funding to carry out the programs to their fullest potential.
Since his arrival in Pittsburgh the program has been facilitated in several City high schools (Westinghouse, Perry, Lincoln, and Faison) and in various community centers.
One such recent program offered in the Pittsburgh Public School system, was titled Scholar Warrior, created by co-worker and co-founder of Shehu, Lugman Abdus Salaam. Scholar Warrior is a title that is used often in Africa and it is used in their male mentoring program. The program guidelines are similar to that of a black survivor game. A group of male students would be divided into teams, and each team would be named after a black organization or important person in history. Each group would be given clues using the alpha/number code system. Clues would be hidden in different parts of the school, when a code was found the teams would be required to go to the library or ask questions to research the answer. The winners would be awarded a small monetary gift certificate to a local urban retail store. While the students may have started off with the incentive of an award, along the way they were awarded a lot more, such as learning how to conduct research, working as a team towards a common goal, learning self control and learning about black history.
Involving the students in this type of engaging activity was a factor which assisted them in retaining much of what they had learned. The Scholar Warrior program connects to the students on their level, using their language and it was a huge success. This program is temporarily on hold while the search for additional sponsors and funds is underway.
The Shehu program has also became part of the rehabilitation curriculum in the Allegheny County Jail. Mrs. Carena Pope, a co-worker of Hamza's at the YMCA of Pittsburgh, brought him in through the HOPE program. Below is a visual breakdown of the 30 Below program.
30* BELOW (PIMPS & HO'S) BREAKDOWN:
The 30 Below Program shines a variety of different but similar scenarios heightening the awareness of the unseen hustle to the group. One such scenario is the comparison of the street hustler's position to that of the prostitute. They say to the young men, "You got your hustle on, got a few dollars in your pocket, a nice car, a nice crib, some Timbs, Air Jordans, and clothes. You think you got it made, you feel like you are on top of the world. Now let's flip it, and check out a decent looking prostitute, she has a few dollars in her purse, nice clothes, shoes and purses to match, a nice crib, she's smiling, like you, thinking she's on top of her game. But look under that layer of hip clothes and money, she's the one working the trenches, meeting up with bad johns, beat downs, every time she goes out on the block, she's risking her health and her freedom and for what? At the end of the night, she walks away with change while the bulk of the profits go to her Pimp, so he continues to get rich. The hustlers are out there on the block, risking their lives and freedom, and we can ask the same question, for what? A little change and a little more change if you are the Money man, while the bulk of the profits go to the Connect and the Man. At the end of the night, the hustler walks away with some change but the profits goes to their Pimps to build their financial empires.
The Money Man and the 30 Below Man, (30 representing the age bracket of men involved at this level of the hustle are usually below the age of 30) same thing, you are prostituting yourselves, taking all the risks, and giving all your money to The Source/Man and The Connect and at the end the package you are the one paying the price cause you are the one getting caught up by the police.
Once the captive audience compares their place in the hustle game with a prostitute they become enlightened to the reality of it all.
Another scenario used to reach the understanding of this culture are to dissect the familiar comments spoken by many who have served or are presently severing time in a prison facility. Everyone is always saying how jail is cool; it's ok; I'm maintaining; I'm a solider. Next time someone says to you jail is cool, think about this. You are sentenced to 3-5 or 10-15 years, your woman comes to visit every week and she is always looking fly. You return to population aroused, but, oh, before you get there, you have to submit to a body check. You have to bend over, spread and cough, while a guard, another grown man checks you. How does it make you feel to have a grown man check your private parts? How does this affect your manhood? This is happening to you every week for 3-5 or 10-15 years. Now after you are released, can you tell your homies, yeah jail is cool, it was cool having to spread and cough to the guards.
A third scenario used is the break down of the urban popular movie Scarface. This part of the program is to educate the audience of the deceptions of the glamorization of the drug culture in rap, video and films. How many times have you heard reference a person makes to Al Pacino's violent character, Tony Montana? These comments can be from your friend across the street to the major rappers. It's amazing how many idolized the way he clawed his way up from the position of a 30 Below Man to the rank of The Source/Man. The discussion breaks down how everyone hated Tony Montana. He was hated by his wife, his mother, his family, his friends, his associates, and those who worked for him. He even hated himself, sure he gained power and money, but, he lost his self-control. The program progresses to explain the importance of self-control and how to control your passions.
The programs not only teaches how to escape the street life but it shares the spiritually side of life such as - Purification of the heart from Jealousy, Envy, Arrogance, Showing off and love of leadership" it also deals with wanting for your brothers and sisters what you want for your self and that's a better life for all. Another reason why the program has established programs to feed the homeless and hold clothing drives.
One would assume the aforementioned programs geared towards Blacks, Hispanics and others labeled as "at-risk" males; programs that have shown a success pattern within several communities and would be well received in all communities. One would think the search for funding and sponsors would be non-existent as funds would flow in from community organizations, businesses and educational leaders and government sources. One would think, with the short-lived success of other prevention programs, and with the emergence of a grass root prevention program such as Shehu which is aimed at grasping the reality of the beliefs, the morals, and the desires of the youth culture and meeting them head-to-head, word-for-word, life-for-life, giving them not only a way out of their mentality, but a way to use their skills and intelligence in a positive manner, to live responsibility in today's society. It's sad to think that the program that proved to be a success in a failing school system would be in danger of ending because of the lack of funding. The program is not about stripping the youth of their individuality, it is in place to assist the youth in realizing their strength, their intelligence and guiding them to overcome the barriers and stumbling blocks and use it to better themselves and become responsible adults and role models for others.
I asked Brother Hamza what are the goals of the Sankore Center and the Shehu Program. He said to have the Sankore Center complete with rehabilitation and have it filled with students, and the Shehu program to be fully funded with programs in place throughout the City.
At this time the Shehu program has offices on the North Side, Homewood and other East End locations. They are presently working on networking locally and nationally for program funding and sponsorships. The Shehu program has been in place in high schools, universities, YMCA's, Boys and Girls Clubs and youth centers across the nation.
It was hard not to notice the sense of peace and happiness reflected with each word and smile from Brother Hamza, it had me wondering what would lead a young man who was born and raised in small town in Puerto Rico to Islam?
"I tried to do many things to try to experience Happiness from getting high, making money partying etc. All these things were a false form of happiness that never quenched the thirst that my soul was looking for" When my roommate who was a Latin King had completely transformed his life with Islam and had the look of complete joy and happiness in his soul" that's when I found my experience with true traditional Islam and it has been the best thing I have ever experienced in my whole entire life."
Check the Shehu website for the announcement of the Walk-a-Thon to raise funds for the Shehu Program, the Underground Railroad. Also watch for other upcoming events to educate our communities.
To learn more about the Sankore Center and Shehu Program click on
Islam in the Dominican Republic
Although it has become one of the most controversial religions of the 21st century, there is much intrigue and misinformation surrounding Islam. The political realities associated with the religion have forced many who have had limited contact with Islam to form, at times, disingenuous and misguided opinions about it. It has become an unfortunate reality that when conversations about Islam are initiated, many wary eyes raise eyebrows in concern, fearing that television images will soon become a reality in a restaurant near you. But nestled away from the grim images we see on the daily news, in one Santo Domingo's nicest neighborhoods, is an inconspicuous mosque, which is the antithesis of anything you have ever thought Islam to be and for many, is a representation of all the good values and virtues that Islam can offer.
This, for those who don't know, is a reference to the Círculo Islámico de la República Dominicana (CIRD) and its mosque, where followers gather to pray and share in Muslim values and teachings. The mosque is a meeting place for the small Muslim community in Santo Domingo and though their numbers aren't nearly as great as their Christian or even Jewish counterparts, their presence in the DR is long-standing and deserves to be recognized. Islam in the DR is a link to the nation's colonial history, and also reflects the country's multi-cultural growth and continued acceptance of groups, regardless of origin.
History of Islam in the DR
It may come as a surprise to many, but the history of Islam in the Dominican Republic began with the importation of African slaves during the DR's colonial period. Spanish conquistadors, led by Christopher Columbus, landed on Hispaniola in 1492, and by 1502 had entered into slave trading. Historians have established that the presence of Islam was already substantial in West Africa during the 16th century, and this was where early colonizers bought most of their slaves. The Wolof Muslims from West Africa is believed to be among the first group of slaves transported to the New World. As the slave trade grew, colonizers imported a new group with its own customs and beliefs, such as Islam, to the New World. The presence of West African slaves with Muslim ties would quickly be seen as problematic. Resistance by the slaves was first recorded in 1503 when Nicolas de Ovando wrote to Spanish Queen Isabella requesting that she prohibit further shipments to the colony of people with connections to Islam. However, the demand for slaves was so strong that no one heeded the Spanish governors pleas' to stop importing Muslims. Although these new imports to the Americas arrived with a rich and ancient culture, repression and forced conversions into Catholicism gradually diluted the original cultural, identity and religions of the remaining Muslim slave inhabitants on Hispaniola.
Wolof slaves stopped being imported from Africa in 1522 after the first large-scale slave revolt in the Americas was led by a group of Muslims. The revolt occurred on the sugar plantation of Admiral Don Diego Colon, son of Christopher Columbus. By 28 December 1522 the slaves reached the cattle ranch of Melchior de Castro, but the success of the revolt was limited. Eventually, the slaves were met by European militiamen, and the revolt was subsequently thwarted. This revolt would mark the end of Muslim importation on the island and would guarantee a diminution of the Muslim presence for years to come.
Present day Muslim Community
Though there would be a lag in the establishment of a substantial Muslim community in the DR, the reemergence of the religion came about during the immigration of Lebanese and middle easterners to the DR during the late 19th and early 20th century. However, the migration of Muslims was minor, to say the least. Through migration Islam's religious seeds were once again planted in the DR, but the religion would not grow. Most Middle Eastern immigrants to the DR were Christian and the small number of Muslims that did migrate went on to convert to Christianity over the years. It would not be until migration of students to the DR during the latter part of the 20th century that Islam would once again reemerge in the country. The DR became an attractive educational offer for many students from India, Pakistan and the Middle East and with them they brought their cultures and customs. In this simple way, Islam would reassert itself in Dominican culture. Although most people in the DR practice Roman Catholicism, the Círculo Islámico de República Dominicana has slowly helped spread Islam in this country. The Muslim community includes a mix of local converts, international students studying in the DR and expatriates who have maintained their faith while in the county. Speaking with CIRD member Saad Mashkoor, the CIRD doesn't recruit members, but is open to educating anyone interested in Islam or answering questions of faith for curious minds.
The Muslim community in the DR is still fairly small and it has been almost impossible to determine how many Muslims in fact live in the country. Some estimates indicate that only 0.02 percent of the population or 2,000 individuals are practicing Muslims, although other statistics place the number between 400-700 followers, with a reasonable estimate reaching 1,000 Muslims in the DR.
The Círculo Islámico was the first fully established mosque in the Dominican Republic. The mosque is located in the center of Santo Domingo, about a five-minute walk from the National Police Department and UNIBE University, easily accessible to Muslims from around the city. In the past there were mosques around the city, known in Arabic as mobile mosques, but there was never a place where Muslims could go and worship until the current mosque was built. CIRD director Mashkoor tells how there was a small mosque on Pedro Lluberes Ave. in Santo Domingo about 10 years ago. He explained that there was the need for a mosque in order to accommodate the growing number of Muslim students in the DR, but the funds to purchase the land were limited, until one day a prayer was answered. A Muslim gentleman, only named as Foutory, heard about the need for funds to purchase the land and asked how much money was needed. He wrote a check right there and then. The land was bought and once again, when the time came for construction, Foutory opened his heart and his wallet and helped build the mosque. Currently, the mosque runs on donations from followers. The simple installations of the mosque don't require much, but simple things like power, water and maintenance must be tended to and this is where the small community of Muslims chip in with what they can. Many followers provide as much time and resources as they can and network in order to provide the mosque with enough to keep it running. The mosque is open daily for the five prayers (salat) and offers classes on Islamic studies for ladies and children on weekends. The center also holds Ramadan and other Muslim-related activities.
Adding to the work the mosque does within the local community is the foundation of the Al-Foutory consultation office, which Mashkoor explains, provides free medical consultations to anyone in the community. In the back of the mosque is a small doctor's office where community members can get free check-ups for their ailments and in some cases they may also receive free medicines. Mashkoor says that every other week a cardiologist comes to the center and checks on patients. He says that at times the doctor might not be able to diagnose a problem or might not have the tools or expertise to treat a patient so they call on other doctor friends in the community and send sick patients their way. What's more is that when a patient is referred to a private clinic, the doctor may do it as pro-bono work and won't charge the patient. Mashkoor credits the giving nature of the mosque as part of the values instilled in him by his religion.
Speaking with one of the brothers who frequents the mosque, Jose Caba, provided a great deal of insight into the historical connections between Islam and the DR. Jose explained that his family originally migrated to the DR from the Middle East. As a child growing up in New York he had no idea of this and like many thought he was "just" Dominican. At one point, though he didn't explain when, he became interested in tracing his family history and learning about his past. This personal journey brought him into contact with Islam, which was part of his cultural heritage, and he converted in 1974. Jose speaks of the beauty within the religion, and says that this is what made him fall in love with Islam. He speaks of the respect that he has for his wife and community and explains that it his faith that has driven him to be a better person. Jose travels back and forth between the US and the DR and mentions that he gets suspicious looks, especially in the US, but in the DR the looks are more curious than anything else. He jokingly adds that sometimes walking down the street, Dominicans will joke that he must be hot because of the traditional garb he wears, as well as his long beard, but adds that other than that he is respected in the community and that Dominicans have never shown any concern about his religion.
Islam has had a long, yet quiet history in the DR. Through its many emergences and re-emergence it has left some traces on the Dominican cultural map, but very few could point these out. Still, Islam is an interesting part of the DR's past and present and will continue to be an interesting part of its future. As students continue to venture to the DR in search of educational opportunities and as the virtues of this culture and religion become intriguing to curious minds, the religion will continue to grow. The debate about Islam has not begun in this country and the hope is that once the religion appears on the social radar those who engage in it will disregard television images and particular views and allow the local members of the religion to educate on the nuances of Islam. Will we see the emergence of twenty new mosques in the DR in the next ten years? Who knows, but what is certain is that the existence of Islam in the Dominican community adds to the wealth of culture that this country already provides.
Muslim Prayers At Wrigley Didn't Work
By Junaid Afeef
An American Muslim Journal
Ricardo Pena is a Muslim and a Cubs fan. According to Saturday's Chicago Tribune Pena was organizing a Muslim prayer for the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field on Saturday afternoon in advance of the Cubs do-or-die game against the L.A. Dodgers later that evening.
Alas the prayers were not enough to bring the Cubs a win, and now the Cubs are done for the season after being swept by the Dodgers in three straight games.
It turns out that one of my friends on Facebook is a friend of Ricardo Pena. My friend posted the Chicago Tribune article on Pena's prayer "action" and the story generated about 23 comments.
I found the Facebook comments really interesting.
One individual (hereinafter S.J.) said: "Wow, we have people dying of starvation, cancer, economic sanctions, war, poverty, and human rights violations all over the world; here we have 100 people organizing a prayer (not in a mosque, but at a sports field) for a baseball game victory. O Allah (SWT), please tell me this is a joke."
In response to S.J.'s comment I wrote: "I think its great that these folks are organizing a prayer for the Cubs! Life is full of heartache and tragedy. Sports are a respite from these terrible things. I took the prayers as a humorous and light-hearted event. You go Br. Ricardo!"
There were several posts back and forth between S.J. and Ricardo Pena. My focus here is not so much on Pena. I think what Pena organized was great and I give him a lot of credit for being creative and thinking outside the box. I also give him credit for putting himself out there because, as we all know from the "Horry Kow/Fukudome" incident earlier this year some folks can be downright bigoted at the ballpark.
I'm more interested in S.J.'s comments. I'm going to share several of S.J.'s other comments to give a fuller perspective of S.J.'s point of view:
S.J. is wrong on so many levels.
First and foremost, he is suggesting that because there is suffering in the world, humanity is not allowed to enjoy a few moments of laughter or pleasure? Is S.J. suggesting that Muslims cannot attend sporting events?
Laughter and levity are a blessing from God. These things are a source of peace and used to rejuvenate ourselves from our stressful lives. Following sports and attending sporting events are excellent means of breaking away from work and stress.
Or is S.J. suggesting that prayers can only be done in a mosque? Muslims pray in parks, at the airport, in restaurants and on sidewalks all over America and probably throughout the world. There is nothing that confines prayers to a mosque.
The argument that it is inappropriate to pray for a sports team's success is unnecessarily nitpicky and wrong.
The results of a sports competition are based on the performances turned in by each side. When sports fans pray for a team or an athlete's success on the playing field they are essentially beseeching the Almighty to help them play their best. What is wrong with that?
Furthermore, Pena's event drew great attention to Muslims through the media. it was a great public relations effort. That is great.
What S.J. seems to miss is that the media is not the intended audience. The media is a medium of communication to convey a message to the public. The "media" is not an end onto itself.
Pena's Cubs prayer gave the public a non-political, non-controversial and light-hearted glimpse at Muslims. It sent a message that Muslims share the same interests and passions as others in the community.
This is a fact but not enough people see it. It is important for society to have a fuller and more accurate view of Muslims. The caricature-Muslim portrayed in the media grossly distorts Islam.
Pena never suggested that the Cubs prayer was in lieu of feeding the hungry, housing the homeless or protecting abused children, so to suggest that this effort is not meritorious because of the existence of other, more pressing issues is a weak argument.
More people need to get out into public life and positive things like Pena. Pena has a website called "Allah for Cubs" where he chronicles his organizing effort for the Cubs prayer.
I wish Ricardo Pena well. I appreciate his efforts.
The following information originally appeared on AllahForCubs.com.
In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful
UPDATE 10/3/2008 10:15 AM: WBBM Radio 720 interviewed me this morning and will air sometime today. They thought it was a great idea. Please email to let me know you're coming!
UPDATE 10/3/2008 11:05 AM: ABC 7 News is going to interview me at Friday Prayer at the Downtown Islamic Center. Please let me know you're coming!!!
UPDATE 10/3/2008 2:50 PM: The interview with ABC 7 went great! It will air tonight and they will cover the prayer at Wrigley Field as well. There's a lot of buzz and people calling people but I still need email confirmations so I can update the goal thermometer. Please let me know you're coming!!!
UPDATE 10/3/2008 3:22 PM: There will be a mention in the Chicago Tribune by columnist John Keilman about our event. I'm hearing that people are talking and are inclined to go but have not notified me yet. Please email to let me know you're coming!!!
UPDATE 10/3/2008 6:22 PM: Here's a link to the blurb on AM 780 radio website. Allahu Akbar! http://www.wbbm780.com/Special-Cubs-Fan-Wants-Everyone-Allah-In/3078548
UPDATE 10/3/2008 8:12 PM: Here's a link to the blurb on the ABC 7 News Chicago website. http://abclocal.go.com/wls/story?id=6430826§ion=news/local
UPDATE 10/4/2008 11:32 AM: Channel 2 News will be covering the event today. We have only 20 confirmed for attendance. I've heard there are more unconfirmed people that will show but I have no idea ho many. Sisters, please come out and observe the brothers praying if you can to increase our numbers. Your presence counts and we need your support. Insha'Allah I will see you all there.
UPDATE 10/4/2008 2:52 PM: Alhamdulilah! The event was a success. We did not hit the 100 Muslim goal but that's okay. As Bob Uecker said in the movie Major League, our pitch was "juuuust a bit outside!" There were about 25 Muslims who attended so I am very happy with the turnout. The prayer was covered by WGN Channel 9, ABC Channel 7 and CBS Channel 2 news. It should air at the 6 o'clock news and maybe the 10 o'clock as well. May Allah reward all who attended. Also, there were many people who could not make it due to other obligations and being out of town but made dua for us, so may Allah reward them as well. Finally, for those who helped pass the word on to other people, may Allah reward you too. Thank you all for your participation and prayers, let's hope our cubbies win and more importantly, let's hope that people begin to warm up to the idea that God is the only one who can grant success, that he is the only one with power to influence the affairs of the universe and that appealing to anything other than Him is fruitless. Jazaakum'Allahu khairun...as-salaamu alaikum wa rahmatullah wa barakatahu.
The Chicago Cubs are on the verge of collapse. They say it's a curse. They say it's a disgruntled goat. They say four Cubs' names end in "no" (Soriano, Zambrano, Cedeno, Fontenot) and therefore winning is a no-no.
They tried to bring a goat to Wrigley. They tried rubbing their lucky rabbit's feet. They've probably even tried to offer Joboo a shot of rum!
As Muslims, we believe that the one and only true God is the Granter of Success. We believe that He is the only One who possesses any kind of divine power whatsoever and the only One who decides whether one is successful or not.
Therefore, I will attempt to mobilize 100 Muslims to come to Wrigley field and offer God a prayer, as Muslims, prostrating in full public view, in order to acknowledge to God that there is none worthy of worship except Him and to ask Him directly to grant our Chicago Cubs success!
They've tried the goat, they've tried rabbit's feet, they've tried getting Joboo drunk and the Cubs still lose. Why not give this a try?
"GOD does not forgive idolatry, but He forgives lesser offenses for whomever He wills. Anyone who sets up idols beside GOD, has forged a horrendous offense." - Quran 4:48.
"It has been revealed to you, and to those before you that if you ever commit idol worship, all your works will be nullified, and you will be with the losers." - Quran 39:65.
"As for those who discard the worship of all idols, and devote themselves totally to GOD alone, they have deserved happiness. Give good news to My servants." - Quran 39:17.
"Those who believe, and do not pollute their belief with idol worship, have deserved the perfect security, and they are truly guided." - Quran 6:82.
What Love Means to Me
By John Cordero
I felt the gentle breeze blowing as I cautiously made my way to the unassuming white structure guarded by a wooden fence, which had been erected around it. Walking past it, the last vestiges of doubt were removed and all that remained was an entrance that welcomed any race, color, or creed. Officially, I had spent the past year seeking knowledge about what might be contained inside these walls. The more I read and studied, the more answers were given by the dried ink on white pages; yet the last piece was heavily guarded by the custodians of the unseen, making my aim for this particular day the acquisition of a key which would then unlock the final chamber.
Under a bright, sunny sky and no longer feeling apprehensive, I approached this last and ultimate door separating the open and clear world from the unknown. The quest had brought me here at last! It had delivered me to a place, that I must have passed hundreds of times and never fully took note of, a place that on the outside looked no different from the dwellings next to it, yet upon first sight had taken the aura and significance usually accorded to sacred sites. Throughout the recorded centuries of human history, man had always embarked on a journey for the source of cause and effect, of intellect and reason, and of the natural wonders of the world, which had been precisely set and put in perpetual motion. I considered myself only the latest meek, humble pilgrim in an infinite line of supplicants that shared the same burning desire to know the answer to the question that has driven some insane and others to levels of unimaginable bliss: "what is the meaning of life?"
Seeking the answer, I entered with no hesitation and immediately felt the strong attraction of one who has seen his beloved after a long absence. Overwhelming feelings of peace and tranquility descended upon me like the water falling from the sky to replenish the earth and cleanse it of its accumulated dirt. Now in the first stage of inner purification, I began to take stock of my surroundings: bare walls save for a clock and finely woven rugs bearing calligraphy, and under my bare feet the sensation of a comfortable green carpet. In short, just as I had imagined it in my mental travels. I was home, and the point of no return had long since passed.
Suddenly, a man appeared with an extended hand and a smile. A firm handshake later, he bade me to sit on the floor and asked my name, origin, and purpose. On this last inquiry we spent a good two hours discussing the various methods devised by man through the ages to arrive at a satisfactory answer, yet somehow each one had some flaw or defect that deprived of supreme wisdom. The fact that there was a mutual agreement between two persons who didn't even know the other existed a day before was a reminder that the path I was on seemed for all intents and purposes true and correct.
A point should be made about the external appearance of my host. Dressed in traditional Eastern attire complete with turban and a long, flowing beard, he most likely would be judged and classified as the anti-thesis of a learned, cultured person by those who are blinded with notions of prejudice and superiority. However, by conversing with him one was able to notice that not only did he have a wide range of knowledge regarding different philosophies and ideologies, but a calm and patient demeanor that was at the same time inviting and intuitive. Naturally, my feelings of comfort and belonging increased with each passing minute.
An example seems appropriate so I can illustrate my point. At one point during our conversation, a tray bearing rice was brought to us. Immediately thankful for the unexpected nourishment, I watched with amusement as my host used his right hand to scoop the rice and eat. Far from feeling disgusted or wary, I reasoned that before utensils came into existence, this was how people ate. So as I sat there feeding myself with a fork, I thought that this was an inequality that must be remedied. Up until now we had been in unanimous agreement regarding our topic of discussion, so why should we not strengthen the bond and eat in the same manner? Either he must eat with a fork or I must eat with my right hand. In this way we could achieve brotherhood and stay on the common ground.
After eating, our conversation continued as other guests began to arrive. Gathered around in a circle, they were amazed to discover that the points I made were in total agreement with their understanding and practice of the spiritual path. At this point the question was asked: was I ready to submit to the one who had revealed the correct guidance and follow the human example of the one who brought it to the world? For a split second it seemed as if the world had stopped. Now was the point of final acceptance or rejection. Would there be another opportunity? Who knows, especially when death can strike at any time, any place. Clearly, there was nothing left to do but make public what was already in my heart.
With radiant smiles and calm dispositions, the assembled waited as I was instructed by my original host in the proper pronunciation and meaning of the words that reach across all cultural, national, physical and mental barriers to unite a fifth of humanity. Acceptance of this banner meant loving what they meant and this love was implanted through the practice of enjoining what is good and forbidding what is evil by the Creator and Sustainer of all the worlds and everything they contained. This is how I came to love and cherish the reality of "There is no God but Allah and Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah" and thus became a Muslim, one who submits to the will of Allah and loves what Allah has revealed to Muhammad.
Hispanic Heritage Event (Islam and Latinos)
By Yusuf Mendez
Date: Monday, September 15, 2008, 9:12 AM
Muslim American Society: South Florida and NSUs School of Humanities and Social Sciences
Section and Time:
The following slides are from the main presentation.