Books, Dawah, Islam, Latino Muslims, Other

Representation Matters: Islamic Books for Latino Children

By Wendy Díaz

May 8, 2021

Original link: Representation Matters: Islamic Books for Latino Children | About Islam

Fifteen years ago, my husband and I, both Latino converts to Islam, welcomed our first son to this world. Alhamdulillah, he was the first Muslim child born into our families, a blend of Puerto Rican and Ecuadorian heritages living here in the U.S.

His fitra, that innate faith in one Supreme Creator, was untainted unlike ours had been. He did not have to discover Islam later in life in his teens and twenties like his parents had.

We named him Uthman after the third Khalifa in Islam, the son-in-law of Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, bearer of the two lights. And so began our Muslim parenting journey, one that we are still striving to navigate efficiently as more and more challenges and blessings present themselves.

As convert parents, our objective is to raise righteous Muslims by Allah’s Will; as Latinos, we endeavor to preserve our culture within the confines of Islam. We learned early that despite what we heard from some well-intentioned Muslims, Islam did not come to take away our identity.

In fact, Islam is part of our rich history as Latinos – an inheritance left behind by our ancestors that has been buried and forgotten.

Unfortunately, this reality is one that has not been explored enough in contemporary circles of knowledge. Muslims from other parts of the world do not consider Latin America part of the Islamic narrative. Yet, as more of us return to Islam, we are unearthing this truth and we are eager to pass it on to our children with pride.

When we began searching for Islamic books and material to teach our first son in our native language, we were unsuccessful. However, as a mother who wanted to instill a love of reading in my child, I settled with purchasing books in English and translating them simultaneously as I read them to Spanish.

Soon I began reaching out to publishing companies that specialized in Islamic books and offered to translate their children’s books. After receiving no response or downright rejection because as they said, there was “no market for Spanish material,” I realized that if I wanted books for my children, I would have to create them.

Thankfully, I loved writing as much as I loved reading, but I knew from my experience with traditional Islamic publishers that it was unlikely my manuscripts would be accepted. My husband and I investigated self-publishing, and after investing our own capital, we published our first bilingual Islamic children’s book in 2010 called, A Veil and a Beard.

Other books followed, including a series on the Prophets, a book about Ramadan and one on Friday prayer, an artistic representation of the hadith of Gabriel for children, and others. We sought support from friends and family through our non-profit social project and dawah organization, Hablamos Islam, Inc.

Due to a high demand for these books all over Latin America, we were able to supply needy communities with Islamic children’s books in their own language in over a dozen countries.

Alhamdulillah, we also began creating children’s programming in Spanish on our YouTube channel, Hablamos Islam, that has been viewed in over 40 countries worldwide. Nevertheless, this was not enough.

After my first, then second, then third child entered school, I began to see another concerning trend. The three of them were the only Latino children in their Islamic schools.

As such, they experienced some alienation and bullying. My eldest was often taunted by his classmates, who called him Mexican and said he ate tacos, despite him telling them that he was half Puerto Rican, half Ecuadorian and tacos are not a staple of either country.

My second son’s teachers complained about his behavior and suggested that the reason for his troubles in class were due to him not having many Muslim relatives as role models (because we were converts). Their last name, Guadalupe, that is in fact, a blend of Arabic and Latin (Wadi – valley, al – the, and lupus – wolf) was always mispronounced and ridiculed. Despite bringing this up to the school’s administration, little was done to curb these occurrences and the misconceptions that fueled them.

At this point, I understood that it was not just Islamic books in Spanish that were missing for Latino children, but also Islamic books with Latino representation for all Muslims – children, parents, and educators included.

Latin-American Muslims needed to see themselves represented in Islamic literature and it was imperative that other Muslims accept them as part of the general Islamic community.

Later, when we moved and I was forced to put my children in public school, there emerged a need to also educate non-Muslims about my Latin American Muslim family. This is when the idea for my most recent books was born. 

Since the beginning of 2020, I have published six important pieces of literature that represent our experiences as Latino Muslims here in the U.S., both inside and outside the Islamic community. They are:

De Puerto Rico to Islam With Love: A collection of poetry about identity and faith – A book of memoir and poetry detailing the events that led to my conversion to Islam and the aftermath of that decision.

The Secret of My Hijab (English and Spanish) – a children’s picture book reaction to the questions my daughter encountered in public school while wearing the Islamic veil.

The First Day of Ramadan/El primer día de Ramadán (second edition)– a bilingual children’s book that follows a Muslim family on their first Ramadan fast with a glossary of both English and Spanish vocabulary related to Ramadan.

Yo Hablo Islam/I Speak Islam – A Spanish-English dictionary for Muslim children to learn Spanish vocabulary, including terms related to their identity as Muslims.

Why Do Muslims… ? 25 Questions for Curious Kids – A Q&A children’s book with other 25 facts about Islam and Muslims with a Latino main character.

Eid Empanadas – A book celebrating the Ramadan and Eid traditions of a Latin-American Muslim family.

My mission is to be a voice for the underrepresented Latin American Muslim community, and especially for our children. Insha’Allah, I hope these books and more to come, will help us understand each other and be more welcoming to those we do not know.

After more than a decade of being involved in this work, my family and I are now beginning to see other authors and even publishing companies starting to work towards filling this gap of missing Spanish material and representation for Muslim children. For that, we are profoundly grateful.

However, there is still a lack of support for these important resources. I hope that you, my dear reader, will aid us in raising awareness for this cause by adding these books to your home library, discussing diversity within the Islamic community with your children or students, and sharing this article for others to benefit. May Allah reward you and may He bring back the unity in our commUNITY. Ameen!

About Wendy Díaz

Wendy Díaz is a Puerto Rican Muslim writer, poet, translator, and children’s book author. She is the Spanish content coordinator for ICNA-WhyIslam and a MuslimMatters columnist. She is also the co-founder of Hablamos Islam, a non-profit organization that produces educational resources about Islam in the Spanish language.

Books, Dawah, Islam, Latino Muslims, Muslim converts

A Book About Our Journeys to Islam

By Aaron Siebert-Llera

As a light-skinned (Chicago winters will do that to anyone) Mexican-American, I have often had to deal with the frequent ‘you don’t look Mexican’ comments. Now that I am also Muslim (13 years & counting), I am more often mistaken for being Arab or Bosnian, so I actually blend in at the mosque. But when people find out I’m Mexican, they then ask the question ‘wait, how can you be Mexican and Muslim?’

Part of the issue for people not being aware of our presence has always been that the greater Latino/a community does not do a good job of marketing our stories. This is not totally our fault because Hollywood has not deemed us important enough to be featured in movies, even though we make up more than 30% of the movie-going audiences. Latinos/as have been even further delegitimized over the years when white actors simply put on brown face (ala West Side Story) to play Latinos/as or just chose non-Latino/a actors and actresses (an actor like Lou Diamond Phillips should thank Latinos every day for his roles) to play the roles of Latino/a characters. So it is not surprising that Latino/a Muslims are not a very well-known community since the larger community’s story is already not being told.

The importance of the book ‘Latino Muslims: Our Journeys to Islam’ is rooted in the fact that the Latino/a Muslim community deserves the opportunity to share our stories with the world.

The importance of the book ‘Latino Muslims: Our Journeys to Islam’ is rooted in the fact that the Latino/a Muslim community deserves the opportunity to share our stories with the world. Too often our stories are left unheard and this is sad to me because I know how much can be learned through the personal narrative. One can theorize for years about the reasons a group of people may be embracing a new religion, but if that same group of people is given the platform to speak and present their stories, it is so much stronger and impactful.

Book Website: LatinoMuslims.net

Take for instance the story of Ricardo Pena. His path to Islam was one that included a thirst for knowledge that started with simply reading the daily newspaper on the bus on the way to school each day. But eventually, it led to his further desire to know about various religions in a search for his own truth, finally leading him to Islam. His story holds a common thread amongst many converts to Islam, the desire to know truth and have a personal connection to a faith that just feels right, feels like home. This book is hopefully the start of many narratives to be written about Latino/a Muslims and I pray that it is one that opens the eyes of many people to the often courageous, uplifting and emotional journeys many of us have taken in our spiritual paths.

Aaron Siebert-Llera, Esq. is the Staff Attorney for the Inner-City Muslim Action Network.

Dawah, Latino Muslims, Muslim converts

Did you feel alone this holiday season?

Dear fellow Muslim – peace be upon you,

Do you remember how you felt alone during this holiday season? Well, that’s how new Muslims feel during Islamic holidays.

Perhaps, you haven’t given much thought to it because you have supportive Muslim friends, a loving Muslim family, and an active local Muslim community all year around?

What does your local community do for the new convert during Islamic holidays? What do you do for them?

Please consider giving to The LADO Group by the end of this tax year. You may know of us better as the Latino American Dawah Organization (LADO). Your donations are tax-deductible. Our EIN is 84-5056478.

By the way, that’s not a picture of me.

Your brother in faith, Juan Galvan
Do you remember how you felt alone during this Christmas holiday season? Well, that's how new Muslims feel during Islamic holidays.
April - June 2012, Dawah

Latino American Dawah Organization (LADO)

From Encyclopedia of Muslim-American History


Founded in September 1997 by a handful of U.S. Latina/o Muslims in New York City, LADO, the Latino American Dawah Organization, has become one of the most important and influential organizations among Latina/o Muslims in the United States. Juan Alvarado, Samantha Sánchez, and Saraji Umm Zaid, its founders, formed the organization to promote Islam among Latina/os in the United States and to create a network of support among them. From LADO’s inception, the Internet has played an important role in the organization’s attempt to create a sense of Latina/o-Muslim community. A month after forming this grassroots organization, the leaders created a Web site and an online newsletter, which features conversion stories and the testimonies of Latinao Muslims across the United States.

From 1997 to 2001, LADO focused on forming alliances with local organizations throughout the country. In 2001, Juan Galvan, who later became executive director, helped to shift the direction of the movement. Galvan sought to raise the public profile of the organization, and in July 2001, LADO obtained endorsements from the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) and the Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA), and began working closely with the ISNA’s own Latina/o coordinating committee. As part of this new approach, Galvan began to rethink and redesign the Web site, which was finally unveiled in May 2005.

LADO also coordinated the first magazine issue dedicated to the presence of Latina/o Muslims in the United States, which appeared in ISNA’s Islamic Horizons in July-August 2002. Included was the first comprehensive history of the community by Galvan and Samantha Sanchez. The mainstream press noticed the issue and followed up by interviewing members of LADO and other U.S. Latina/o Muslims. LADO also coordinated the coverage of the community in the November-December 2004 and the December 2005-January 2006 editions of the Message International, the monthly magazine of ICNA.

Since December 2003, LADO has also written and translated materials about Islam into Spanish and has given an increasing number of public presentations on the topic of Latina/o Muslims. According to some observers, this highprofile coverage has turned LADO into the most popular missionary organization among Latina/o Muslims in the United States. Their Web site and newsletter have been used not only for education but to make connections with other members of the community across the country. LADO has publicized the conversion stories of Latina/o Muslims in the United States, which has in turn created a better understanding of Latina/o Muslims among non-Muslims.

Further Information:

Galvan, Juan. “Who Are Latino Muslims?” Islamic Horizons (July-August 2008): 26—30.

Islamic Horizons (July-August 2002): 22—42.

Latino American Dawah Organization. Available online. URL:http://www.latinodawah.org. Accessed March 20, 2009.

The Message International (November-December 2004).

The Message International (December 2005—January 2006).

Citation Information:

Text Citation (Chicago Manual of Style format):

Martinez-Vazquez, Hjamil A. “Latino American Dawah Organization (LADO).” In Curtis, Edward E., IV, ed. Encyclopedia of Muslim-American History. New York: Facts On File, Inc., 2010. American History Online. Facts On File, Inc. http://www.fofweb.com/activelink2.asp?

Other Citation Formats:

Modern Language Association (MLA) Format
American Psychological Association (APA) Format

Additional Citation Information

Record URL:

Dawah, Jan - Mar 2012

Various Latino Muslim Events

Latino Muslims: Letters from Al-Andalus



Learn about the Muslim Cultural Legacy from Islamic Spain to the US featuring guest speakers on:
* From Andalus to El Barrio (NY) w / Omar Abdur-Rahim Ocasio
* Latino Muslims: Service and Advocacy w / Latino Muslims from MPAC and MWB
* The Next Wave

March 17, 2012 (5-8pm)
America’s Islamic Heritage Museum
Washington DC

Latino Muslims, Latino Friends, and all Seekers of Knowledge Encouraged to Attend.

Capacity of 60+ guests. Please RSVP.




Latino Muslim Gathering

Saturday, March 03


PLEASE JOIN US on Saturday, March 3 for a special Latino / Hispanic Muslim Gathering at Islamic Center of Irving! “Strength in Unity: Importance of Community and Dawah”. Special guest speaker: Imam Daniel Abudullah Hernandez from Houston. Delicious food and refreshments will be served. Please SPREAD THE WORD & invite Latino / Hispanic Muslims you know!

LOCATION: Islamic Center of Irving, 2555 Esters Road in Irving
PRESENTED BY: Islamic Center of Irving
WEBSITE: http://iciwork.org/outreach/

2 pm – 5 pm

Latina Muslimah Meet / GreetSaturday, March 31, 2012
1:30 pm until 6:00 pmICNA DAWAH CENTER,
DULUTH, GA 30096


Come join your Latina sisters for a wonderful afternoon filled with good food and good company. Insha Allah we will have a brief discussion on:
* Islam and Your Family.
* Muslim Leadership.
* Culture & Islam

Please share with others and bring a friend.


The North Hudson Islamic Educational Center
Wednesday Islamic Studies
Every week from 7p-9p

Asalaamu Alaykum wa Rahmatullah wa Barakatuhu (May the Peace, Mercy and Blessings of Allah be upon you)
May you be in the best of health and faith (iman). We are delighted to continue offering classes on Islam with various topics to suit your needs and religious quest for Islamic knowledge. That they are of benefit, ameen.
Tomorrow’s topic is Principles of Islamic Belief taught by Brother Musa Álvaro. The class is in Spanish and English, as needed.
The monthly class schedule (usually in English with Spanish translation as needed) is as
follows : * Advanced Studies in Qur’an and Hadith by Shaykh Mohamed Alhayek (the first week)
* Principles of Islamic Beliefs by Brother Musa (second week )
* The Four Caliphs of Islam by brother. Yusef (3rd week the following days: (3/21, 5/16, 7/18) and the other days will be Sh. Alhayek.
* An introduction to Islam (book & quot; Focused Islam & quot;) by brother Melvin (4th week)
* Learn the Salat (prayer) every Wednesday from 5: 30-6: 30 by Sister Nylka (brothers and sisters)
* Question and Answers every Wednesday by Shaykh Mohamed Alhayek
Contact us if you have any additional questions! Jazaakum Allahu Khairun (Allah rewards him for good).

3-Day Da’wah Event

Dawah, July - Sept 2011

The Texas Prison Dawah Project


The Texas Prison Dawah Project was founded in 2000, for the purpose of distributing Qur’ans, Islamic videos, books, and pamphlets to the incarcerated Muslims of Texas and the rest of the United States. TPDP is funded by the East Texas Islamic Society (ETIS) and promotes Millati Islami, a twelve step recovery program founded by Zaid and Sybil Imani in Baltimore, Maryland 1993.

The work of Dawah (propagation, invitations, and/or conveying) is directed towards Muslims and Non-Muslims. Regional Muslims Chaplains and knowledgeable Muslims on the inside need materials and support from us to enhance their efforts in teaching the religion, engaging in Dawah, and assisting in the successful reintegration of incarcerated Muslims into (free world) society as productive members of our communities.

We believe Islam to be the true religion revealed to all the Prophets of Allah since the beginning of human history. We believe in the adherence to Qur’an and Sunnah, as a completed, finalized and universal religious/spiritual path for all time and all people.

TPDP believes successful rehabilitation and reintegration into society are essential elements of social reform. We do not believe these elements can truly be successful without Divine Guidance The Creator. We believe Tawbah (open repentance) to be the key to true and practical rehabilitation.

Islam teaches us that repentance is a sincere turning away from the evils of the world around us and from the evil inclinations within us, while turning in Islam (a peaceful state of surrender/submission) to Allah The Forgiver. The religious life, the spiritual awakening, and the moral structure of Islam uniquely guides, heals, and illuminates the path of those who turn to Allah. Peace and unity, in varying degrees, becomes a reality in the life of the Muslim even if that life is lived under oppression, in poverty, or inside a prison. The TPDP motto “Surely Allah does not change the condition of a people until they change the condition within themselves” (Qur’an 13:11), reminds us of the personal responsibility we have for our lives and the personal accountability we have for our actions.

Muslims throughout the prison system are making Salah five times-a-day, attending Jumah, Taleem, fasting in Ramadhan, and studying Qur’an and Sunnah in a sincere effort to please Allah while breaking free from the impulses of the nafs ammarah lower (commanding self) and the deceptions of the shayateeni min al jinnati wan-naas (devils from among humans and jinn). We (the American Muslims), must increase our awareness and sensitivity to the needs and plights of our incarcerated brothers and sisters. Throughout the prison system people are embracing Islam, nationwide, every year. We must unify our efforts to enhance Islamic Rehabilitation by supporting Prison Dawah and we must fulfill and complete this process with active Islamic reintegration programs. Reintegration means “to restore to a unified state,” “to re-enter as a part of society.” Islamic Rehabilitation unifies our conscious mind with our original, innate Muslim nature. Islamic reintegration unifies the rehabilitated Muslim with the Islamic community and society in general. We have seen that a truly rehabilitated person, reliant upon their creator can reintegrate into their communities, encouraging and establishing faith, family structure and moral behavior.

Islamic reintegration flourishes within a receptive and supportive community. Even though many of us may come from broken homes and shattered lives, we can, (insha’allah), rise up from the rubble of who we were and embrace what Allah has given us the opportunity to be. Our world is not suffering from a lack of entertainers, athletes, tycoons, or politicians, but it is suffering from a lack of responsible parents, trustworthy neighbors, and “God conscious” communities. American Muslims should be just as concerned (if not more) with the issues of crime and punishment as any other American. The American prison population continues to grow while crime continues to rise. Apparently, our law enforcement agencies and our prison systems are failing miserably to “serve and protect”, or to rehabilitate or reintegrate.

Allah has given us what we need to address this very important, but often neglected aspect of social reform, a clear and complete guide. The Qur’an and the Sunnah of his Messenger Muhammed (saw). We understand that we must address these issues as sincere Muslims, as active Muslims, and as thinking Muslims. Prophet Muhammed (saw) said “The seeking of knowledge is incumbent upon every Muslim.” (Tirmidhi and ibn Majah). The problems we face in our society are deeply rooted in our individual and collective minds, perpetuated across many generations, races, and cultures. The knowledge of our faith must be deeply rooted in our hearts and minds and applied universally to all people and all times. The light of social reform must shine from us the believing Muslims who rely upon Allah Al-Wakeel (The Most Reliable).

We are responsible for our condition. In order to face the challenges of purifying our world, we must face the challenge of Tazkiyyah un-nafs (self purification) and Allah knows best. Assalamu Alaikum, Luqman Mudhakkir.

Related links:

April - June 2010, Dawah

Internet Serves Da`wah in Brazil

By Hany Salah

May. 27, 2009

http://www.islamonline.net/servlet/Satellite?c=Article_C& cid=1242759218762&pagename=Zone-English-News/NWELayout

CAIRO In a vast country like Brazil, the internet is emerging as the most effective tool to spread the message of Islam, says a leading Muslim scholar in the South American nation.

“The internet is one of the most successful contemporary da`wah tools,” Al-Sadiq Al-Othmani, head of the Islamic Affairs Department at the Center of Islamic Da`wah in Latin America, told IslamOnline.net over the phone.

“That’s why I encourage scholars to spread the word to broader masses through the web, especially in such a vast country.”

Othmani, a Moroccan who has lived in Brazil for the past seven years, believes the internet can be particularly helpful for Muslim preachers in Brazil.

“Muslim preachers, many of them volunteers, usually take two to three hours to reach a mosque within their own city to deliver a sermon.

“If the mosque is in a different city, they may take up to 12 hours just to reach the place,” he explained.

Othmani, a renowned imam in Sao Paulo, cites his own personal experience.

“In 2007, I delivered a sermon themed “ËœIslam and slaves freeing’ in a Sao Paulo mosque, and it was appealing to the few attending worshippers,” he recalled.

“After I finished, some of the attendants asked me to translate the sermon and post it on the internet, and I did.”

The sermon was posted on the website of a young Muslim who established a website to introduce Islam to Brazilians.

“To our surprise, the sermon got 800,000 hit in just one week,” said Othmani.

“We also received a flood of letters and e-mail from many people asking for more information about Islam, and many of them later converted to Islam.”

Othmani later embraced the idea of online da`wah and established an online magazine that introduces Islam to Latin Americans.

“So far the magazine gets some 5,000 visitors a week.”

Tolerant Brazil

Othmani believes that spreading the message of Islam in a country as tolerant as Brazil can be very effective.

“Brazil is the land of ethnic, cultural and religious diversity,” he maintains.

“The atmosphere of religious tolerance has even helped that diversity to thrive.”

The Muslim scholar notes that Muslims are enjoying an atmosphere of tolerance in Brazil.

“They have all the freedom to pray and to build mosques,” he asserted.

“There are nearly 120 mosques across Brazil, in addition to Islamic centers, charities and organizations.”

There are ten mosques in the city of Sao Paulo, including the first mosque built in Latin America whose construction began in 1929.

There are mosques in all the capitals of the major states and some cities in the interior.

According to the 2001 census, there are 27,239 Muslims in Brazil.

However, the Islamic Brazilian Federation puts the number at around one and a half million.

The majority of Muslims are descendants of Syrian, Palestinians and Lebanese immigrants who settled in Brazil in the nineteenth century during the World War I and in the 1970s.

Many Iraqis have arrived in the country after the 2003 US-led invasion.

Most Muslims live in the states of Parana, Goias, Riod de Janiero and Sao Paulo, but there are also significant communities in Mato Grosso do Sul and Rio Grande do Sul.

April - June 2007, Dawah, Latino Muslims, Organizations, USA

LADO Timeline of Accomplishments


September 1997Latino American Dawah Organization (LADO) is founded to promote Islam among Latinos in the United States.
October 1997LADO begins to formalize its mission statement and the means for accomplishing its mission.
October 1997LADO selects “¡A su LADO!” as its slogan.
October 1997LADO establishes first LADO website.
October 1997LADO establishes first LADO online newsletter.
1998-2000LADO makes alliances with organizations on a local level.
January 2001LADO initiates Latino Muslim Census.
July 2001LADO attends the 2nd Annual Latino Muslim Conference.
July 2001LADO is endorsed by ISNA and ICNA.
August 2001LADO is in the news and Islamic Horizons Magazine.
July 2001LADO begins working with ISNA’s Latino Coordinating Committee.
October 2001LADO begins collecting a book on Latino conversion stories.
October 2001LADO forges relationship with various Muslim organizations.
October 2001LADO establishes YahooGroup.
Dec 2001 – Sept 2002LADO members in various newspaper and magazine articles.
January 2002LADO overhauls its website and online newsletter to better serve the needs of the Latino Muslim community.
July 2002LADO attends the 3rd Annual Latino Muslim Conference.
July/August 2002LADO coordinates first, ever Muslim magazine issue dedicated to American Latino Muslims. Islamic Horizons: July/August 2002 issue.
July/August 2002LADO releases the first comprehensive article about Latino Muslims in America in Islamic Horizons Magazine.
September 2002LADO members speak at 39th Annual ISNA Convention.
March 2003LADO forges closer relationships with Latino Muslim organizations.
July 2003LADO attends the 4th Annual Latino Muslim Conference.
September 2003LADO members speak at 40th Annual ISNA Convention.
December 2003LADO clarifies its mission statement, dawah objectives, and guiding principles in response to the rapid growth of Latino Muslims.
June 2004LADO establishes chat room and guestbook.
July 2004LADO attends the 5th Annual Latino Muslim Conference.
September 2004LADO members speak at 41th Annual ISNA Convention.
October 2004LADO members speak at 2nd annual Hispanic Muslim Day event in New Jersey.
Nov/December 2004LADO coordinates the first, ever Latino Muslims magazine issue by The Message International dedicated to Latino Muslims. The Message International: November/December 2004 issue.
Nov/December 2004LADO releases extensive article in English and Spanish about Latino Muslims in The Message International.
May 2005LADO unveils its redesigned website.
July 2005LADO attends the 6th Annual Latino Muslim Conference.
September 2005LADO members speak at 42th Annual ISNA Convention.
October 2005LADO members speak at 3rd annual Hispanic Muslim Day event in New Jersey.
Nov/December 2005LADO coordinates the second Latino Muslims magazine issue by The Message International dedicated to Latino Muslims. The Message International: November/December 2005 issue.
Nov/December 2005LADO releases article about the founding of LADO in The Message International.
April - June 2006, Dawah

E-Dawah: Fundamentals and Methods

By Juan Galvan

The Internet is revolutionizing the everyday life of ordinary people. Many Muslims do not recognize the unique opportunity the Internet offers for conveying Islam. Many non-Muslims searching for truth also benefit from the Internet. The Internet will never replace face-to-face dawah and direct mailing of Islamic literature, but the Internet will continue to broaden dawah opportunities in new ways that benefit both Muslims and non-Muslims. With the growth of the Internet, we have seen an amazing growth of business conducted over the Internet, or E-Commerce. I want to encourage using the Internet to convey the guidance of Islam, or E-Dawah. Electronic Dawah (E-Dawah) is using the Internet for dawah purposes. There are many benefits of E-Dawah. E-Dawah can make dawah more efficient, effective, and less expensive.

The Internet allows information to be easily and inexpensively distributed to anywhere and accessed from anywhere. Traditional dawah methods have included the distribution of Islamic knowledge through printed and audiovisual literature, usually in the form of brochures, books, audiocassettes, CDs, VCR tapes, and DVDs. Much time and money can be spent to purchase, produce, print, and mail literature. The Web offers worldwide resources as text, images, audio, and video. Consequently, the Web makes learning more accessible. Muslims are no longer totally dependent upon a teacher, classroom, or library. Using the Internet to perform research can help cut research costs and is often quicker. The Internet offers year around, up-to-the-minute information.

The Internet allows you to easily and inexpensively communicate with people from around the world. Traditional networking among Muslims for dawah purposes has occurred in mosques and other Islamic institutions. The Web enables Muslims to network with Muslims and non-Muslims from any where at any time who share similar interests and concerns. Much time and money can be spent regularly calling people and keeping a staff available at a physical location to answer questions. Oftentimes, the Islamic institutions that are much needed for dawah simply do not exist. Using the Internet, traditional means of communication are transformed into electronic messages, such as e-mail and chat, and physical locations are transformed into online locations, such as websites for chat rooms and discussion forums.

The Internet is the largest communication network ever produced. Before accessing the Internet, your computer must be connected to the Internet. Connections to the Internet include dial-up, cable modem, and Digital Subscriber Line (DSL). A dial-up Internet connection is less expensive but much slower than a cable modem or DSL connection. A DSL connection is generally recommended over a cable modem connection. With DSL or cable modem, you do not have to reestablish a connection each time you want to access the Internet. An Internet Service Provider (ISP) is a company that provides a connection to the Internet. For a monthly fee, an ISP gives you a username and password along with a software package and customer support. For an ISP near you, search the Yellow Pages for Internet Service Providers or Internet Access Providers. ISPs are often called Internet Access Providers (IAPs). Many free online services, such as American Online (AOL) and Microsoft Network (MSN), also offer a paid subscription to access the Internet.

Once you have access to the Internet, you can use websites, e-mail, search engines, chatting, discussion forums, Usenet newsgroups, and newslists. Therefore, E-Dawah includes creating websites, writing e-mail, online research and education, chatting, and joining online communities to promote Islam. Methods for online communication are helping to break down barriers that have traditionally separated many communities from Islam. Perhaps, the biggest challenge for the Internet is getting rid of computer phobia. Nevertheless, Muslims should be conscious about the many dangers that exist on the Internet. We should keep in mind that dawah means “to call or invite people to Islam.” Dawah is essentially about conveying the knowledge of Islam. E-Dawah is one of the most important aspects of CyberIslam. CyberIslam is the presence of Islam and Muslims on the Internet. Regardless of the methods, Muslims must continue to adhere to proper Islamic principles when calling people to Islam. For example, Muslims must maintain the best character, such as by being patient and truthful. This paper is only meant to be a starting point.


A website is a location on the World Wide Web (WWW). The World Wide Web, or the Web, is the best-known feature of the Internet. A website consists of web pages that can contain text, graphics, sounds, and videos. Web pages can also contain links to web pages and e-mail addresses within and outside the current website. Web pages are created using HTML. A web page is often divided into sections, such as a header, body, footer, and navigation menu. A website may serve various purposes, depending on the individual or organization that manages the website.

You use software called a web browser to access websites. Internet Explorer, Mozilla FireFox, and Opera Browser are among the most popular web browsers. Each of these browsers can be downloaded for free. Web browsers make the Web full of colors, filled with graphics, sound, and video. Other main features of web browsers include a bookmarks list, a history list, and options for changing various browser and privacy settings. The bookmarks list is the list of your selected website addresses that is used for quickly revisiting your favorite websites. The bookmarks list is also known as the favorites list. The history list consists of your recently visited websites. Today, it is difficult to believe that web browsers did not begin to be widely used until 1994 with the release of NCSA Mosaic and Netscape Navigator. Since the late 1990s, Internet Explorer has been the most popular web browser. Mozilla FireFox and Opera Browser are popular for their usability and flexibility.

When you are viewing web pages, you are browsing, or surfing, the Web. The Web can also be used for e-mail, discussion forums, and file transfer. Each web page has an address called a Uniform Resource Locator (URL). For example, the URL for the website of the Latino American Dawah Organization (LADO) is http://www.latinodawah.org. HTTP (HyperText Transfer Protocol) is the most common means of file transfer on the Web. HTTPS, often used with financial transactions, is the secure-encrypted version of HTTP. File transfer is simply the moving of files between two computers over a network, such as the Internet. To download means to transfer a copy of a file from another computer ‘down’ to your own computer over the Internet. The opposite of download is upload.

Creating your own website offers many benefits. Websites are an important form of communication, because people from across the globe can access your website. Web pages on your website can be printed from any computer connected to the Internet. People can also download information found on your website. Links to your website can also be e-mailed. Updating anything that you publish on the Web is simple and inexpensive. For Muslims, websites are an inexpensive way to distribute Islamic information. For example, anyone with access to the Internet can listen to Islamic lectures, print out Islamic articles, and download Islamic software, such as how to perform Salat. For Muslim organizations, websites are an important tool for common activities, such as marketing, fundraising, and distributing literature. Among the most popular Islamic websites are WhyIslam.org, IslamicFinder.com, TheTrueReligion.org, IslamiCity.com, IslamOnline.net, IslamForToday.com, and RadioIslam.com.

You can build and maintain a free website at geocities.yahoo.com, angelfire.lycos.com, tripod.lycos.com, or fortunecity.com. These are examples of free website hosting companies. The downside to free websites are annoying banner or popup ads. These ads can be removed by upgrading to a payment plan. After purchasing a domain name such as name.com, www.name.org, or www.name.edu, you can find services that will host your domain name inexpensively if not for free. Many website hosting companies make developing a website easy by offering users a selection of website templates. A website template is a ready-made web design template, which are used to control the standard items for each page, such as the color scheme, the fonts, and the layout of the website.

Although most website hosting companies provide a way to transfer files over a website, many website developers prefer to use FTP clients, such as WS FTP, to update their websites. FTP (File Transfer Protocol) is a way of transferring files between computers, which requires login as either anonymous or with a username and password. SSH (Secure Shell) is similar to FTP except that SSH offers a secure connection. FTP should not to be confused with Telnet and Kermit, which are better known for terminal emulation. Until 1994, Telnet was used more often than the Web. HTTP, FTP, and e-mail are the most common means of file transfer on the Web.


A weblog is a type of website that contains periodic postings. Basically, a weblog is an online journal. A weblog is commonly referred to as a blog. Blog can also be used as a verb, such as in “I blog,” “I blogged,” and “I am blogging.” Many terms relating to blogs have been developed. For example, the entire network of blogs and bloggers is referred to as the blogosphere. People who blog are known as bloggers. A blogger creates and maintains a blog. That is, a blogger selects the blog’s content and look.

The most common features of a blog are the blog posts, reader comments, blog archive, and blogroll. The blog posts are the blog entries, which can be short or long postings about anything. The most recent blog posts are on the front page toward the top. Readers may also add their own comments to each blog post. The blog archive categorizes all the blog posts by month and year. The blog archive may be searched. All posts have a permanent link known as a permalink. The blogroll is a list of website links to other blogs. The blog archive and blogroll are found on the front page of the blog.

You can develop a blog in the same way you would build any website. In 1999, the founding of free blog services, such as Blogger.com and Pitas.com, would later encourage millions of people to begin their own blogs. You may also create a free weblog at Bloglines.com, Xanga.com, Modblog.com, and Blogsome.com. Many websites you may use regularly offer free blogging services. Yahoo offers Yahoo! 360° at 360.yahoo.com, AOL offers AOL Journals at journals.aol.com, MSN offers Windows Live Spaces at spaces.live.com, and Google offers Orkut at orkut.com. All of these free services allow users to select a website template for their blog.

The benefits of maintaining a blog are similar to those for maintaining a website. However, blogs are becoming the most popular form of website for people. Group blogs are also becoming more popular. Group blogs are blogs maintained by more than one person, such as by family members, friends, and coworkers. For a Muslim, a blog is a good way to share your personal stories about life as a Muslim as well as your thoughts on current events. A Muslim group blog generally focuses on the stories and thoughts of the group and its members.

A blog should not be confused with a wiki. A wiki is a type of a website that allows others to edit the content and presentation of any page found on the website, including adding and removing pages. For example, Wikipedia at Wikipedia.org is an encyclopedia that can be edited by anyone. You can create your own wiki at Wikia.com, PBwiki.com, WikiSpaces.com, etc. The main benefit of a wiki is for collaboration with others on writing projects.


Electronic mail (e-mail) is used to send and receive messages over the Internet. The e-mail messages are usually notes typed using a keyboard. E-mail systems offer various services such an address book for e-mail addresses, folders for saving messages, and the ability to send the same message to many people at once. You can also e-mail attachments such as documents, pictures, and sounds. After reading your e-mail, you can reply to it, forward it, store it, or delete it. E-mail can also be printed out on a printer.

All Internet Service Providers (ISPs) and online services such as AOL offer e-mail. An e-mail client is used to read and send e-mail. An e-mail client may be a web-based e-mail service, a stand-alone program such as MS Outlook, or built into other programs such as web browsers. Many people and organizations offer free e-mail accounts as a way to promote their websites. You can sign up for free web-based e-mail at mail.yahoo.com, hotmail.com, mail.google.com, and mail.aol.com. I prefer the Yahoo e-mail service. Due to greater competition, the free e-mail services are adding additional or enhanced services to attract new users. For example, free e-mail services now offer a greater amount of storage space. They may also include online scanning for computer viruses. They also include advanced email filters that work toward limiting unwanted and unsolicited messages, also known as spam.

Unfortunately, e-mail is vulnerable to problems common with regular mail, such as unsolicited mail and mail fraud. E-mail spam, or junk e-mail, is typically advertising sent out simultaneously by e-mail to numerous people. Phishing scams are an example of spam. Phishing is a type of Internet fraud that involves tricking people into disclosing private information, such as credit card, bank account, and social security numbers as well as usernames and passwords. Typically, the phishers will pretend to be a representative, such as for a banking institution, requesting verification of personal information, and any obtained information is used for identity theft.

E-mail is also susceptible to malicious software (malware). Malware is used to display ads, break into, monitor, or possibly damage a computer. Malware is installed and executed without permission, but is not always circulated through e-mail. Computer viruses, such as trojan horses and worms, are one type of malware; other types of malware include spyware and adware. Computer viruses are potentially harmful programs that spread, commonly by self-replication, throughout the Internet. In addition to online tools, free and commercial stand-alone products, such as McAfee VirusScan, Norton AntiVirus, and AVG Anti-Virus Free, are available that identify and eliminate computer viruses. Anti-Virus programs do not necessarily focus on fighting spyware and adware. Popular software that identify and eliminate spyware and adware include Windows Defender, Lavasoft Ad-Aware, and Spybot Search & Destroy.

Regardless of potential issues, e-mail continues to be the most commonly used means of communication over the Internet. E-mail users can send and receive e-mail any time of the day from anywhere in the world. E-mail is also highly reliable. The recipient generally receives your e-mail within a few seconds or minutes. Consequently, e-mail is a valuable tool for networking. You can e-mail Islam-related information to Muslims and non-Muslim friends. You can use e-mail to contact and to be contacted. You can e-mail a letter to newspaper editors, television producers, and leaders of Muslim organizations. You can visit the websites of organizations to find the e-mail addresses you need. Many organizations actively seek suggestions, comments, and questions. For example, the media is always seeking interesting, news worthy topics to report as well as contact information for people who can contribute to the story.

Search engines

A search engine is an online tool used for searching the Web. After entering keywords in a search engine, a search engine returns a list of the web pages where the keywords were found. You can visit the web pages that contain the information you are seeking. For a more refined search, enter more detailed keywords. For example, rather than entering ‘Muslim’ in a search engine, you may want to enter ‘Latino Muslims.’ Keywords can be anything you want to research.

Google.com, Yahoo.com, MSN.com, AltaVista.com, Ask.com, Excite.com, and Lycos.com are popular search engines. Search.com and DogPile.com bring together search results from multiple search engines. Most popular search engines allow you to search for images, audio, and video files. I use Google.com on a regular basis. Most popular search engines also allow you to search for news topics of interest from anywhere in the world. You may find driving directions using maps.google.com, earth.google.com (satellite views), maps.yahoo.com, and mapquest.com.

Part of CNET Central (Cnet.com), Download.com is perhaps the best source to find a variety of software. Blogdigger.com, Daypop.com, Blogsearch.google.com, and Ysearchblog.com are popular search engines for blogs. I recommend using FindArticles.com to search over 300 magazines for articles covering various subjects. FindArticles.com also contains a comprehensive list of websites for various magazines and journals categorized by subject. If you need to search an online dictionary, thesaurus, or encyclopedia, check out Reference.com and Bartleby.com.

Almost all search engines are now also portals. The most popular search engines including Yahoo, Google, and MSN are horizontal portals. These websites serve as a starting point for anything anyone wants to do on the Web. For example, Yahoo attempts to provide for your entire Internet needs through its website. In addition to a free e-mail account, Yahoo allows you to search the yellow pages at yp.yahoo.com and to shop online at shopping.yahoo.com. You can also search for phone numbers at people.yahoo.com, television listings at tv.yahoo.com, play online games at games.yahoo.com, plan vacations at travel.yahoo.com, and check the weather at weather.yahoo.com. You can use Yahoo Briefcase to store and share files online at briefcase.yahoo.com. To take full advantage of Yahoo services, you must register for a Yahoo ID by registering for a free Yahoo e-mail address at mail.yahoo.com. To take advantage of MSN services, you must register for a .NET Passport by registering for a free Hotmail e-mail address at hotmail.com or by registering any e-mail address as a .NET Passport at register.passport.net. MSN and other portals offers services similar to Yahoo.

Whereas horizontal portals attempt to be for every purpose and audience, vertical portals cater their content and services to a particular audience from a particular industry, topic of interest, or location. For example, IslamiCity.com focuses on everything about Islam whereas Garden.com is centered on everything about plants. Both websites are created with a different audience in mind and attempt to meet the needs of that particular audience. Both horizontal and vertical portals typically have search engines, and sometimes searching a vertical portal may yield the most accurate and relevant information you are seeking. Regardless, search engines are essential for navigating through the Web to find exactly the information you need. You may add a search engine to your own website with free and commercial tools offered by search engines and by software developers.

Search engines should not be confused with Peer-to-Peer (P2P) networks. A Peer-to-Peer (P2P) network is a type of file sharing network in which files are shared (downloaded and uploaded) between computer users over the Internet. Although all types of files may be transferred, P2P networks are best known for the exchange of audio and video files. Well-known P2P networks include Gnutella, OpenNap, FreeNet, and Bittorrent. P2P file-sharing programs include Limewire, Kazaa, and FreeNet. Bittorrent is most popular for the transfer of large video files. Each of these file-sharing programs allows users to search for files to download. Hence, the confusion of P2P networks with search engines. IslamicTorrents.net is the largest Islamic P2P network. Compression programs, such as WinZip and WinRar, may be needed to compress multiple files into a single file or to uncompress a single file into multiple files. For example, WinZip is often used to compress multiple files into a single Zip file for easier distribution as an e-mail attachment. WinZip is available at WinZip.com, and WinRar is available at WinRar.com.


Chatting is an online process that consists of sending and receiving messages by typing on a keyboard and the entered message will instantaneously appear on the monitor of anyone participating in the chat session. Anyone who receives your message can reply, and you will see the message instantaneously. In other words, a chat session occurs live and in real-time as in an actual conversation. You can chat by using an Instant Messenger (IMer or IM) or by visiting a chat room.

The most popular Instant Messengers are AOL Instant Messenger (AIM), Yahoo Messenger, Windows Live Messenger, Google Talk, and Internet Relay Chat (IRC) clients. A typical Instant Messenger chat session involves only two users, and both people must use the same IMer to begin a chat session. In addition to sending text messages, Instant Messengers allow you to transfer files such as documents, images, and movies. You can also use emoticons, such as a smiling or sad face. Instant Messengers also give you a contacts list, also known as a buddy list, to add screen names of other IM users. Although Imers now allow multiple people to chat simultaneously, communication is still essentially restricted to the contacts list. Instant Messengers allow you to search for other IM users and to accept messages from only the IM users you want. If you don’t want certain IM users to send you instant messages, you can block their screen names.

The most popular Instant Messengers can be downloaded and installed for free. AIM is available at aim.com. Yahoo Messenger is available at messenger.yahoo.com. Windows Live Messenger is available at messenger.msn.com. Google Talk is available at talk.google.com. The two most popular IRC clients are ICQ and mIRC, which are available at icq.com and mIRC.com, respectively. You must setup a username before beginning a chat session. For example, you need a Yahoo ID to use Yahoo Messenger. You need a .NET Passport to use Windows Live Messenger. Multi-protocol IM programs, such as Trillian and PalTalk, allow you to use all four IMer options simultaneously. They are available at CeruleanStudios.com and PalTalk.com, respectively. Although Jabber is widely believed to be a multi-protocol IM program, Jabber is actually an open-source instant messaging platform. When run on a server, Jabber allows people and organizations to run their own IM services. Jabber is available at Jabber.org.

A chat room is an online ‘room’ where you can chat with many people at the same time. A chat room is often given a name to reflect its purpose, such as discussion on a particular subject or by certain like-minded people. Therefore, you may search for a chat room that suits your interests. Once you have entered a chat room, everyone can see what everyone else writes. Most chat rooms also allow users to send private messages to others in the chat room. Instant Messengers are generally not considered true chat rooms even though a chat session on an IMer is technically a chat room. A true chat room is typically a website that is accessible at any time by anyone. However, chat sessions on Instant Messengers require the use of an IMer and are limited to users found in an IMer contacts list. I am referring to true chat rooms in my discussion about chat rooms.

Some chat rooms have moderators who monitor the online discussion. The responsibility of moderators varies depending on the chat room. Some chat rooms have moderators who determine which messages are ultimately sent out to the chat room. Moderators may also be responsible for warning or kicking users who misbehave out of the room. Some chat rooms have no moderation. Most chat rooms have at least some informal moderation, in which members take responsibility in encouraging appropriate chat room behavior. Although true with the Internet in general, chat rooms are notorious for having people pretending to be someone they are not. Requiring username and password verification can minimize such issues.

You can access chat rooms at chat.yahoo.com, chat.msn.com, and chat.icq.com. You must sign up for a username to access these services with the exception of Icq.com. Some chat room services, such as PalTalk.com, TalkCity.com, and ChatFamily.com, require a paid subscription for complete access to services offered. You can access 3D chat rooms at ActiveWorlds.com, CyberTown.com, and PalacePlanet.net. Some ISPs offer chat rooms that are available only to subscribers. Instant Messengers, such as Yahoo Messenger, Paltalk, and IRC clients, provide access to chat rooms. Although IRC clients are commonly used for one-to-one chat, Internet Relay Chat (IRC) was created mainly for accessing multi-user chat rooms, also known as channels. Technically, chat rooms and channels are synonymous terms.

Chatting provides an inexpensive way for you to communicate rapidly and easily with old friends and to make new friends from anywhere. With a webcam and microphone, you can let others see and hear you in addition to chatting with text messages. Most major Instant Messengers now offer free voice and video chat services. Paltalk is among the first Imers to introduce voice and video chat rooms. Many websites of organizations offer free chat rooms to attract more visitors. Chat rooms also offer a unique way for organizations to be easily reached by members, employees, customers, distributors, etc. Organizations and people can even run their own IM services with Jabber. Today, adding a chat room to your personal website is uncomplicated. As true with other free online services, free chat room services usually come with annoying banner or popup ads.

For Muslims, Instant Messengers and chat rooms offer a unique way to discuss Islam with non-Muslims. Because it occurs in real-time, chatting is a quick way to ask and answer questions about Islam. Because it is popular, chatting provides a way of getting a large audience to present information about Islam. Furthermore, because Muslims and non-Muslims can communicate anonymously rather than in person, they are more inclined to communicate freely without being shy or nervous. For Muslim organizations, chatting provides a method of communication that can be used for networking, planning, and implementing ideas that is comparable to teleconferencing and face-to-face meetings. However, face-to-face meetings are always more preferable in Islam.

Discussion forums

A discussion forum is an online location intended for discussions. The term ‘board’ is often associated with discussion forums because like a notice board, people can communicate by asking or responding to questions, comments, thoughts, and ideas by posting messages on the ‘board.’ Consequently, discussion forums may be called bulletin boards, message boards, discussion boards, and even electronic billboards. Discussion forums may also be referred to as Internet forums, web forums, or online forums to emphasize their online presence. They may also be simply called forums.

A discussion forum is composed of message threads that are categorized by various subjects. A message thread is a series of posts that make up a discussion on a discussion forum, Usenet newsgroup, newslist, or blog. Each new post on the forum begins a new thread, and the thread gets longer as more responses are added to the original post. For example, a discussion forum on computers could include categories about hardware and software. In one category, a message thread could be a computer question that was posted along with all discussion about that particular question.

An archive is one of the main benefits of discussion forums. An archive consisting of old and new message threads is available for others to read, respond, and search. Therefore, an archive can save organizations and people time and money by providing answers to previously asked questions found on the discussion forums of organizations, such as Dell and Microsoft. Because each has a static URL, a message thread may be easily sent over e-mail. Many discussion forums allow you to be notified about new posts to message threads that you choose to follow. A forum can be a means for people with similar interests to meet and communicate, but unlike chatting, personal exchanges tend to be avoided and discouraged. The most popular forums can be accessed through Big-Boards.com. Big-Boards.com also contains a search engine for finding all kinds of discussion forums. Many websites, such as EZboard.com and PhpBB.com, offer free discussion forum services.

Discussion forums have also been called discussion groups and newsgroups. However, the term newsgroup is most associated with Usenet. Usenet is a worldwide system containing thousands of newsgroups hosted all over the world, covering every imaginable topic. Usenet newsgroups are used daily by millions of people around the world. Like discussion forums, you can read, post, and reply to messages. Unlike most discussion forums, you may also use Usenet newsgroups to transfer image, audio, and video files in addition to posting text messages. Unlike most discussion forums, the Usenet newsgroups are organized into hierarchies of topics. The most popular top-level hierarchies include alt, biz, comp, misc, news, rec, soc, and talk. For example, newsgroups you may want to visit include those within alt.religion.*, soc.culture.*, soc.religion.*, and alt.politics.* Categories under alt.religion.* include alt.religion.islam.* and alt.religion.christian.* The wildcard ‘*’ indicates that these categories contain subcategories.

The main difference between Usenet newsgroups and discussion forums is that you need to use a newsreader to access Usenet newsgroups. A newsreader may be a stand-alone program, a part of an e-mail client such MS Outlook, or built into a web browser such as with Opera and Netscape. Stand-alone newsreaders, such as Omea Reader and Forte Agent, have more functionality than those built into programs. As with e-mail service, most ISPs provide access to Usenet newsgroups as part of their service. You may also choose to find a service that provides free or paid access to Usenet newsgroups. The largest Usenet archive dating back to 1981 is available by Google at groups.google.com. When many people refer to Usenet newsgroups, they are actually referring to Google’s Usenet service. Therefore, you may use the Web to access Usenet by using any web browser as a newsreader. Unfortunately, the Usenet on Google cannot be accessed with a regular newsreader nor used for file transfer. Although you may read messages, you must register on Google’s Usenet service to post messages and to create a personal profile. A personal profile lets other users know a little about you. All types of newsreaders may be used to search Usenet newsgroups.

As true with chat rooms, discussion forums and Usenet newsgroups may have moderators who monitor online discussion. As a general rule, forums should be somewhat moderated to prevent them from becoming useless for discussion, especially to limit acts of flaming. Flaming is posting messages that are intentionally hostile and offensive. These messages, or flames, generally do not contribute to the discussion. People who post such messages are called flamers. Flame wars, or a sequence of flames among various people, should also be avoided. Often, flame wars are started because people do not understand each other’s intention. Flamers may also be called Internet trolls. An Internet troll is used to describe someone who deliberately attempts to disturb discussion by posting disruptive, unrelated, and annoying messages, such as repetitive posts, humorous posts, and flames. The best way to deal with Internet trolls is to ignore them, which is more commonly stated as, “Do not feed the trolls.” This is also the best way to deal with spam and phishing scams. Although most associated with e-mail, spam and phishing scams may be found all methods of online communication.

Because of their centralized nature, discussion forums are typically easier to moderate and are moderated better than Usenet newsgroups. Most discussion forums have at least one formal moderator whereas Usenet newsgroups typically depend on informal moderation. Forum software may come with many advanced features to ensure proper behavior. A forum moderator has at least the ability to approve, delete, move, or edit messages. Even requesting assistance with these basic tasks on a Usenet message thread can be a complicated progress. However, posts on discussion forums and Usenet newsgroups are generally not deleted unless requested by the person who originally posted the message, and a valid reason may be required.

For Muslims, discussion forums and Usenet newsgroups provide many of the same benefits of chat rooms. Many non-Muslims often post general questions and comments about Islam on discussion forums and Usenet newsgroups. Muslims can respond to these questions and comments about Islam. Muslims and non-Muslims can also focus on subjects of interest, because discussion forums are categorized by topic. They can add new questions, answers, ideas, and information to any existing message threads. In fact, many discussion forums found on Islamic websites contain valuable information by knowledgeable Islamic scholars. Personal profiles also offer an opportunity for people to get to know each other. Among the most popular Muslim discussion forums are WhyIslam.org/forum, IslamiCity.com/forum, IslamOnline.net/discussione, Yanabi.com/forum, and IslamicaWeb.com.

Discussion forums should not be confused with bulletin board systems (BBSs) or with website guestbooks. Before Internet Service Providers and modern web browsers, bulletin board systems were the method used by the general public for e-mail, chatting, forums, file transfer, etc. Today’s bulletin board systems are accessed primarily by Telnet rather than by dial-up. Website guestbooks are used mostly for collecting feedback from visitor comments rather than as a place for discussion. Unlike discussion forums, a guestbook is essentially a list of comments with the most recent on top, and you do not have an option to create a user account.


A newslist is essentially a list of names and e-mail addresses used to send e-mail messages to several people simultaneously. A newslist may be referred to as an e-mailing list, an e-mail list, and even a mailing list. The newslist can be compared to the traditional mailing list, which usually involves the transfer of mail to several people concurrently through the U.S. Postal System. The names and e-mail addresses of the people who make up a newslist are called members or subscribers. By sending an e-mail to the newslist, a member sends the message to the entire group of newslist members. The list address is the e-mail address used to send messages to the newslist.

Subscribing to a newslist is an easy process. You usually have to send an e-mail to a newslist administrative address that may look something like ‘subscribe-me@organization.com.’ Depending on the newslist, you may need to include on the subject line something such as ‘Subscribe FirstName LastName.’ Afterward, you may receive an e-mail asking you to confirm your subscription. This e-mail will explain how to complete the subscription process. This e-mail will also explain how to unsubscribe from the list. You can also subscribe to some newslists on the Web using an online form. Administrative addresses are used to perform newslist functions such as subscribing and unsubscribing from newslists and changing newslist options.

Although they are technically different, a newslist may also be referred to as a distribution list. Unlike a newslist, a distribution list is created using an e-mail client to send the same message to many people at once. The term may also refer to an email client’s ability to create such lists. Consequently, a message is sent to a distribution list using an e-mail client rather than sent to a list address. A distribution list does not have an automated method for subscribing and unsubscribing from the list, because a newslist program does not operate distribution lists. Furthermore, a distribution list also lacks the flexible options that a newslist program may offer.

Before modern web browsers, ListServ, ListProc, and Majordomo were the most popular newlist programs. ListServ, which was founded in 1986, is the first newslist program. Today, the term ‘listserv’ is often used to mean any newslist. Like ListServ, ListProc and Majordomo were commonly found on UNIX operating systems. Many mailing lists still run using Majordomo or ListProc, both of which today may be configured for the Web. Currently, the most popular free newslist services are Yahoo Groups at groups.yahoo.com, Google Groups at groups.google.com, MSN Groups at groups.msn.com and Groups@AOL at groups.aol.com. These groups are newslists with added functionality and may be referred to as discussion forums.

I recommend Yahoo Groups, because the service is exceptional. Anyone can join a Yahoo Group by browsing or searching the Yahoo Groups directory at groups.yahoo.com. Most newslist groups are categorized by topic in the directory for a particular newslist service. Anyone with an e-mail account can subscribe to a Yahoo Group by e-mailing NAME-subscribe@yahoogroups.com, unsubscribe by e-mailing NAME-unsubscribe@yahoogroups.com, post messages by e-mailing NAME@yahoogroups.com, and e-mail the group owner by e-mailing NAME-owner@yahoogroups.com where ‘NAME’ denotes the Yahoo Group name. Notice that the list address is NAME@yahoogroups.com. The e-mail address for the group owner is called the list manager address.

To take full advantage of Yahoo Groups, you have to get a Yahoo ID. You can change settings for your Yahoo Groups at groups.yahoo.com/mygroups. For example, members can select to read messages posted to a newslist as individual e-mails, as a daily digest, or at the newslist website. Each Yahoo Group has a website where you can access previous newslist postings at groups.yahoo.com/group/NAME where ‘NAME’ denotes the Yahoo Group name. This searchable collection of newslist postings is called a newslist archive. The website for each Yahoo Group also contains a chat room, a polls and surveys area, areas for sharing files and website links, and a photo album for sharing images. You must have a Yahoo ID to start your own Yahoo Group and to create a personal profile. Google Groups, MSN Groups, and Groups@AOL offer optional services that are similar to those offered by Yahoo Groups. You need to create a user account or register your e-mail address to take full advantage of those services.

Most newslists have at least one moderator. The moderator is similar to those found in chat rooms and on discussion forums. The moderator is responsible for enforcing the rules of the newslist. The moderator decides what ultimately gets posted, decides who can join the newslist, and can kick people off the list who violate rules. Some newslists are not moderated. For example, the moderator of a Yahoo Group is usually the person who is the creator, or owner, of the newslist. The creator of a Yahoo Group may assign additional moderators and decides how much influence over the Yahoo Group to assign to the additional moderators. Depending on the newslist, a moderator may also have the ability to make changes to the general appearance of the newslist and its website. Moderators may also choose whether or not to include their newslist in the directory.

Newslists are a very important and effective communication tool. The popularity of newslist can be attributed to the popularity of e-mail, because a newslist is essentially messages that regularly and conveniently arrive in an e-mail account. For Muslims, newslists hold the same benefits of other methods of online communication. For example, newslists make Islam and Muslims accessible to non-Muslims. Newslists also provide a way for staying in touch with friends and making new friends. Muslims can send an e-mail message, which may even include an attachment, to all of their friends at the same time using a newslist. Muslims and non-Muslims can subscribe to newslists that focus on topics of interest. Newslists about almost every topic and interest pertaining to Islam exists. Many Muslim organizations use newslists to discuss, plan, and announce events, and to discuss recent news. The most popular Muslim newslists are those by the largest American Muslim organizations. As with discussion forums and Usenet newsgroups, you should keep in mind that posts to newslists can remain accessible to the general public for many years.

Web syndication

Web syndication is about distributing the same content to many outlets over the Internet. When considering syndication, most people think about television or printed media syndication. As with web syndication, both types of syndication are methods for distributing the same content to several outlets at the same time. For example, a television show is distributed to several TV stations whereas a newspaper column is distributed to several newspapers. An example of web syndication is content, such as articles, images, audio, or video, licensed by the Associated Press to be used on various websites. People may also be more familiar with web syndication as the means for distributing content found on blogs. All types of websites now offer syndication of their online content. The online content is referred to as a web feed, news feed, or simply as a feed. Consequently, web syndication has also been called news feed syndication. Web syndication is now more commonly used to refer to aggregation.

Aggregation is the process of receiving syndicated web feeds using an aggregator. Aggregators are stand-alone programs, a part of other programs, and websites that automatically check for updates of content from its feed list. The feed list is the list of website addresses for your selected web feeds. An aggregator receives its name for bringing together updated content from various websites. After receiving an update on the content, you may choose to read the new content in the aggregator or on the website where the content is found. You have to visit the website when only an excerpt or summary of the updated content is provided to the aggregator. Although used mostly for bringing together syndicated text files, aggregators can also bring together syndicated audio and video files. In other words, any type of Web content can be syndicated as a web feed.

Aggregators are also known as feed readers and news readers, because an aggregator reads XML files after receiving web feeds, or news feeds. Web feeds are technically XML files. Currently, RSS and Atom files are the most popular types of XML files used for web syndication. A website may choose to make its web feeds available as RSS and/or as Atom files. Aggregators that receive RSS feeds are called RSS feed readers. Atom was created as a response to concerns about RSS. Websites that provide web feeds often have small buttons stating XML, RSS, or Atom that often lead to the website address of the web feed. Unlike newslists, intermediaries do not exist in the subscription process. When you add a website link to your feed list, you are subscribing to a web feed. And, you remove a website link from your feed list to unsubscribe from a web feed.

As mentioned previously, there are different kinds of aggregators. Aggregators can be stand-alone programs, such as Omea Reader, Newsgator, and Feed Demon. Omea Reader is a free aggregator that can be used to access both web feeds and Usenet newsgroups. Stand-alone programs, such as Apple’s iTunes and Windows Media Player, can be used specifically for audio and video aggregation. Aggregators can also be part of other programs, such as web browsers and e-mail clients. Websites that operate as online aggregators are My Yahoo at my.yahoo.com and My MSN at my.msn.com. Google offers a free online aggregator called Google Reader at reader.google.com. Bloglines.com is a free online service used primarily for reading web feeds and publishing blogs. Websites that receive web feeds from media outlets, such as the Associated Press, also act as online aggregators.

Web syndication has become more important with the growing number of websites that offer web feeds, such as blogs. Websites that receive web feeds benefit because they receive content from multiple websites. A Muslim website can receive automatic updates of content from various Muslim and non-Muslim websites. Websites that provide web feeds have an opportunity to reach a wider audience by presenting their content on multiple outlets through various aggregators and websites. Web syndication enables Muslims to share their blogs with more people. Websites that provide web feeds also do not have to depend on subscribers to visit their websites to receive updated content. Web syndication enables automatic access to updated content from Muslim and non-Muslim websites in one place, which can be read whenever they choose without visiting each website individually. New blog entries are automatically available to all of its subscribers.

Online communities

An online community is similar to a typical community in that both can be described as a group of people with something in common. For example, an online community is often based on race, ethnicity, religion, profession, income, age, and various common interests. However, most people consider a typical community to be based on location, especially when the group of people currently lives in the same area. Like typical communities, online communities experience different levels of communication and participation. Members may have little in common and may even be complete strangers. On the other hand, members may be like best friends or family.

However, because they exist on the Internet, online communities are rarely defined explicitly by location. Rather than face-to-face interaction, the members of online communities interact using online methods, such as blogs, wikis, P2P networks, chat rooms, discussion forums, and newslists. Xanga.com and Bloglines.com, for example, are very popular blog communities. Collectively, the actual members may be referred to as the online community. An online community may also be called an online network because online communities present many networking opportunities. Portals, such as Google, Yahoo, MSN, and AOL are well known for offering free services that enable people to form online communities.

However, online communities are largely considered to be websites, such as MySpace.com, Hi5.com, Friendster.com, and Facebook.com. These popular online communities are based on all types of people and interests. Other online communities focus on common identity such as MiGente.com for Latinos and BlackPlanet.com for African-Americans. The most popular online communities for Muslims are MuslimSpace.com and Naseeb.com. Other online communities may focus on common interests. Popular online communities for file sharing include Flickr.com and Ringo.com for photo sharing and YouTube.com for video sharing. Classmates.com is used for reconnecting with former friends from school, college, work, and even the military, whereas Reunion.com is used for reconnecting with both friends and family. Ebay.com and Amazon.com are popular commercial online communities.

Online communities, such as MySpace and Hi5, have common similarities. They consist of various online communication methods that revolve around individual members. Members can create a blog, personal profile, and photo album. Members can usually create, join, and contribute to groups similar to Yahoo Groups and to discussion forums. These online communities also offer an internal messaging system that is similar to e-mail. They provide internal search engines to explore all aspects of the online community. Some online communities even offer chat services. Members can invite other community members to join their friends list. Members can also invite their friends to become members of the online community. These online communities provide members with a personal website for accessing their profile, blog, groups, forums, photo album, friends list, and messages. Members act as moderators for their personal websites.

Online communities offer many advantages regardless of how they may be defined. Online communities are an important way to network with other people by encouraging interaction among people from around the world. Other community members may contact you based on your personal profile and by your community involvement. For example, a Muslim male can find other Muslim men with similar interests and skills that live in his city by searching personal profiles by gender, location, interests, and skills. By becoming reachable, you can connect with diverse groups of Muslims and non-Muslims. Online communities are an important means for obtaining and providing assistance. Unfortunately, people who are eager to exploit community members may take advantage of their kindness.

Internet etiquette (netiquette) should be respected properly on all online communities. Netiquette means to have manners on the Internet. With the growth of the Internet, netiquette was needed to assist in ensuring observance of socially acceptable behavior on the Internet. Understanding netiquette may help you avoid being perceived as impolite, lazy, complicated, or arrogant. Netiquette consists of recommendations and informal rules. For example, one netiquette suggestion is to avoid shouting. Shouting means using all capital letters when posting messages. Another netiquette suggestion is to use relevant subject titles for messages when possible. Spamming, flaming, and trolling are obviously against netiquette principles.

As true with etiquette, netiquette can vary widely among different groups of people. Islamic netiquette is founded on basic Islamic principles concerning manners. Islamic netiquette assists in maintaining the Islamic culture that is characteristic of the Muslim community. One important example of Islamic netiquette is to always greet fellow Muslims with the customary greeting of peace. The CyberUmmah should seek to maintain proper manners on the Internet as they would in the real world. The CyberUmmah is the entire online community of Muslims. CyberUmmah is derived from Ummah, which means ‘community’ in Arabic. In Islam, the Ummah refers to the entire Muslim community regardless of all other considerations. The CyberUmmah merely represents a small fraction of the entire Ummah. The CyberUmmah must make considerations with respect to Islam and Muslims.

Online communities present many challenges to the Ummah. Members of online communities must volunteer much time and energy to increase the size and participation of online communities. Resources should not be diverted from building important Islamic institutions, such as mosques and Islamic schools. Instead, methods of online communication should be viewed as complimentary tools for Muslims. Online interaction should supplement rather than completely substitute face-to-face interaction. The mosque must continue to be the center of Islamic life. Online communities may also provide only a limited view of Islam and may even provide much false information. Furthermore, because they can be very addictive, online communities have the potential to take you away from your basic Islamic responsibilities. Therefore, participation on online communities can have a negative impact on the Ummah as a whole.


As Muslims, we must continue to communicate the message of Islam. Methods for online communication provide a way to collect, store, present, and distribute Islamic information. These methods also facilitate communication among various groups of people. However, we must always continue to use traditional means of communication. You will still use the telephone, postal service, and meet at physical locations for dawah purposes. You will continue to mail Islamic CDs, brochures, and books. You will also continue to hold interfaith dialogues at churches and universities. You will also continue to educate yourself at your mosque’s library.

However, now you can also write e-mail to Muslims and non-Muslims around the world. You can create an Islamic website, e-mail its link, and syndicate its content around the world. You can use a newslist or discussion forum for planning activities. After finding an interesting article on the Web, you can print the article to distribute among friends. You can have interfaith dialogues in religion chat rooms. You can use a search engine to answer your questions about Islam. You can join online communities to meet Muslims and non-Muslims. Regardless of the means, we must continue to communicate the guidance without deviation, distortion, and innovation, inshaAllah.

Original 2002. Updated 2006.

Dawah, July - Sept 2004, Latino Muslims, Organizations

LADO Current Projects

What you can do to help!

LADO is a volunteer organization. We need:

  • Islamic literature.
    LADO always accepts donations of Islamic literature. Contact us if you have books, brochures, or cds that you would like to donate to Latinos interested in Islam. You can also purchase Spanish and English language material and donate it for free distribution.
  • CDs, DVDs, and Audio Tapes.
    We need recordable CDs and DVDs to copy and distribute Spanish Islamic literature.
  • Talents, skills, and interests.
    We need people with various skills and talents. Use your interests for the benefit of the Ummah.
  • Volunteer Translators.
    We need volunteers who can speak, read, and write Spanish and Portuguese to translate dawah materials.
  • Articles, stories, and poems.
    We maintain an online newsletter. Anyone who is interested in submitting articles may contact the LADO editor.
  • Encouragement.
    There is always something you can do. 
Dawah, July - Sept 2003, Latino Muslims, Organizations, Other

Check it Out! The LADO website

y Natasha Quraishi
Illumination Magazine, June 2003. Pg 3.

The Latino American Dawah Organization (LADO) is a
non-profit organization founded in 1997 that is
committed to providing information about Islam,
particularly to the Latino American community. With
the increasing number of Latino Americans discovering
or rediscovering Islam, it is a much needed
organization. LADO’s motto is ‘AT YOUR SIDE!’ which
means ‘At your side!’ The LADO website, at
www.latinodawah.org, contains a wealth of information
for prospective reverts and non-Muslims. The site
contains LADO’s monthly newsletter, useful links on
Islamic information and websites, and a library with
Islamic resources for beginners in English, Spanish,
and Portuguese. From the ‘Contact Us’ page, you
can find Latino Muslims from around the country. Help
acknowledge the diversity of Islam by checking out the
site and giving feedback to LADO!

Dawah, Islam, July - Sept 2003

Latino Muslims: The Change of Islam in America

By Samantha Sanchez and Juan Galvan

Islamic Horizons Magazine
July / August 1423/2002 Pages 22-30.

The image of Islam in America is changing due to more and more people reverting to it. While there have always been large numbers of both African-American and Caucasian-American populations reverting to Islam, the Muslim population is becoming increasingly diverse. In recent years, the number of Latinos who reverse has increased tremendously. Some figures reveal that 40,000 Latino Muslims live in the United States.

Latino Muslims have been gaining media attention. Headlines such as “A New Minority Calls Itself: Hispanic Muslims” and “Hispanic Muslims of New York” are just a few examples that Americans are realizing what Latino Muslims have known for some time “We exist! Although it is still strange among Muslims themselves to hear from us, the population of some cities such as New York, Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles and Miami are becoming more aware of this fact thanks to organizations that support the Latino Muslim Community.

The need for da’wah through Latinos is evident when one looks at the surprising statistics. According to Dr. Ihsan Bagby “The Mosque in America: A National Portrait” (CAIR. April 2001 www.cair-net.org/mosquereport/Masjid_Study_Project_2000_Report.pdf), the average number of Americans who revert to Islam for each mosque it is approximately 16 per year. He estimates a national annual growth of 20,000 people reverting to Islam: 63% African-American, 27% White, and 6% Hispanic. According to the 2000 United States Census (US Census Division of Hispanic Races and Statistics, “US Hispanic Population: 2000,” www.census.gov/population/socdemo/hispanic/p20-535/p20-535.pdf ) 75% of the population of American citizens are White, 12% are Hispanic, and 12% are African-American.

The United States Census department classifies Hispanics into five categories: Mexicans, Latinos from Central and South America, Puerto Ricans, Cubans, and other Hispanics. The Census department studies in detail those states in which the population of Mexican-Americans almost doubled in number between the years 1970 and 1980, and which almost doubled again in 1990, and at the same time doubled the number by the year 2000! Considerably high immigration and a higher birth rate than the rest of the population are the main factor. The Latino population in the United States is expected to grow to 63 million by 2030, and 88 million by 2050. By then, a quarter of the United States population will be Latino! Latinos are changing the image of the United States, so da ‘ wah directed at them is crucial and necessary. The correlation between Latinos, as the fastest growing population, and Islam, as the fastest growing religion, deserves our attention.

Who are Latinos? The terms Latino and Hispanic are used interchangeably. In March 2000, 32.8 million Hispanics lived in the United States. According to the 2000 Census, the Mexican-American population (21.7 million) comprise the majority, followed by people from Central and South America (4.7 million), Puerto Ricans (3 million), Cubans (1.3 million) and other Hispanics (2.1 million). .) Mexican-Americans make up a total of 66% of the Hispanic population of the United States.

The Hispanic population is comprised primarily of youth and has fewer seniors than the non-Hispanic white population. Half of all Hispanics are under 26 years of age; more than a third are under 18 years of age. Among Hispanics, Mexican-Americans have the largest population under 18 years of age (38%.) However, Cuban-Americans have the largest population over 65 years of age (21%.) Heads of households in the community Hispanic is comprised mostly of single women, more than the non-Hispanic white population, Puerto Ricans have the highest proportion of single women as breadwinners.

Educational achievement among Hispanics lags behind that of the non-Hispanic White population. Among Hispanics, Mexican-Americans age 25 and older have the lowest number to have a high school diploma. Cubans aged 25 and over, among other Hispanics, have the highest level in having a high school diploma. Hispanics tend to be more unemployed than non-Hispanic whites. Service, transportation, and precision production, crafts, and repair workers were the majority of occupations among Hispanic employees. Hispanics tend to live in poverty more than the non-Hispanic White population.

Approximately 17.4 million (or half) of the Hispanic population lives within large cities or metropolitan areas. About 45% of the Hispanic population lives in the Western United States and 33% live in the South. The Hispanic population is concentrated in several states. In 1990, nearly 9 out of 10 Hispanics lived in California, Texas, New York, Florida, Illinois, Arizona, New Jersey, New Mexico, Colorado, and Massachusetts (in that order.) Half of the Latino population lives in California or Texas.

We must consider such a demographic trend when assigning any da’wah program. These programs should target the major cities or states named above. All Muslims must fight to eliminate any problem within the Latino community.

Who is a Latino Muslim? Sounds that easy, right? But it may not be so. First, the word Latino encompasses the entire population with Latin American heritage, whether they are from the United States, Central America, or South America. They may speak several languages, including, but not limited to, Spanish, Portuguese, English, Aymara, Nahuatl, and Quechua.

It is also difficult to define a Muslim. Latino Muslims, both inside and outside the country, follow the Islamic Madhahib 3 and sects, and are Shi’as 4 , Sunnis 5 , Sufis 6 , or anyone else. The majority of Latino Muslims are Sunni. But not all Latino Muslims have reverted to Islam, some are second or third generation Muslims or were born Muslims in their native country.

Research on Latino Muslims is needed. Around 25,000 to 75,000 Latino Muslims have been estimated. Being that the most accurate number is 40,000. More research is needed to determine more approximate numbers and the amount of the Latino population that has reverted to Islam in the past 30 years. We would also like to know what is the percentage of Latino Muslims in Mexico, Central America and South America, how many are Puerto Ricans, Cubans and elsewhere. More demographic information about Latino Muslims is needed, such as age, gender, marital status, education, and economic levels according to salaries.

According to Bagby, the majority of Americans who revert to Islam are men (68%) compared to the number of women (32%.) The stereotype of people who revert to Islam are African-American men. According to our observations, the majority of Latino Muslims are professionally educated, in their 20s and 30s, and are female.

Although the ethnic diversity of a Mosque does not match the highest reversion number, the largest Mosques have the highest reversion numbers. The largest mosques are found, for the most part, in large cities with large populations of Muslims. Within the same cities, Muslims have great interaction with non-Muslim people. This same interaction results in very positive influences that lead people to revert to the religion of Islam. New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Houston, San Antonio, Phoenix, and Miami are the cities with the highest Hispanic population. Consequently, we find the highest population of Latino Muslims who have reverted to Islam in these same metropolitan cities.

Why do Latinos revert to Islam? Conversion to another religion remains a personal choice for each individual. Samantha Sanchez, in her first investigation about Latino Muslims, assures that most of the people who revert to Islam were because they were looking for a new religious orientation. Some people do it more actively than others. In their research, 25% do so as a result of personal exploration (actively seeking a new faith) and have considered other religions before Islam, such as the Jewish, Hindu, and Buddhist religion. For many Latinos, accepting Islam took 3 to 12 years. When converts to Christianity are typically emotionally driven, reversals to Islam are generally more intellectual.

In most cases, Latino Muslims did not practice their previous religion before reverting to Islam (73% Catholic.) This same aspect helps to prove the relationship between Latinos and Christianity, which is mostly part of the same ethnic culture. Lewis Rambo, a converting schoolboy, says that “a person who is intimately tied to his family, who is committed to a certain religious orientation, is less likely to convert to a new religion unless there is some counteracting force with power. that the family has. “

In Sanchez’s study, many Latinos reverted to Islam mention that this religion offers a sense of spirituality that they did not find in their previous religion. First, they manifest a certain antipathy with the Catholic Church which led them to seek a new faith, such as concentration on Jesus (especially by taking Jesus as the son of God), the polytheistic nature of Christianity (praising the Virgin Mary and the Saints), and the idea of ​​the Trinity. Furthermore, many Latinos emphasize their disagreement with the infallibility of the Pope and the hierarchy of the Church. Others add that since their families are not very religious, and that attending Mass was not very relevant, it led them to seek another religion for themselves. Surprisingly, larger numbers of Latina women are reverting to Islam.

When we see on the surface, the monotheism of Islam (Tawhid) is generally an important factor leading to revert to this religion. Consider the following comments made by Latino Muslims for newspapers:
– Mercedes Zeenni (Los Angeles): “I was Catholic. But to begin with, it seems that Islam gave more answers to more of my questions, it was more direct, without mysteries , and it made it easier for me to understand what it meant to believe in a God. “
– Nicole Ballivian (Los Angeles): “I remember getting into trouble in Catholic school for debating concepts such as original sin when I was still very young. When I studied Islam, it made everything easier.”
– Vita Rivera (Miami) said: “I always wanted to read the Bible and learn more, but it was all about the catechism, you just have to believe it, but not understand it. It gave me answers to my Islam, it was logical.”
– Mariam Montalvo (Los Angeles): “With Islam, everything was so pure. I found that there were no intermediaries. Everything is directed to God.”
– Abdulhadi Bazurto (Fresno, CA): “Ask a child, and he will tell you that God is unique. Period. Ask a Theologian how many Gods there are and he will give you empty answers.”
– Guadalupe Martínez (Houston): “When we find Islam, we do not need to spend energy. It is as if I spoke to the operator to ask for a number, energy is spent there. But with Islam I have the number I am looking for. I have a direct connection with God . “
– Domy García (Los Angeles): “It made more sense to see Jesus as a Prophet and as a political leader, and not as a God.”
– Aminah Martínez (Virginia): “As I grew up, I felt that there were many distractions in the Church. Islam, for me, was a more direct faith where I perceived a feeling of belonging.”
– Ali Medina (California): “Before I had no direction in my life, I was leading my life, and I had left school in the 11th grade.”
– Ricardo Pena (Chicago): “I see it as entering a larger community of brothers. We do not see each other as Mexicans or Arabs, we see ourselves as Muslims.”
– Sumayyah Ikhil (New York): “We are all Muslims under one faith, one God.”

In Sanchez’s study, 76% of Latinos revert to Islam thanks to Da’wah 1. Dr. Larry Poston (Da’wah of Islam in the West: Activity of Muslim Missionaries and the Dynamics of Conversion to Islam. New York: Oxford University Press, 1992) defines da’wah as active mission. Dr. John L. Esposito (Islam: The Direct Path. New York: Oxford University Press, 1991) more accurately identifies what the majority of Latino Muslims experience. Most Latino Muslims receive da’wah after a little personal exploration. As a result of radiant interest, they sought out people who could answer their questions, and Muslims responded by sharing information and donating their time and literature. Esposito adds that this is how Muslims spread their faith. Da’wah comes in many forms: families and friends who revert to Islam, relationships between couples, and strangers. People, places, and events are all significant factors that affect a Latino’s decision to take Islam as his new religion.

According to Yahiya Emerick (How to tell others about Islam. New York: International Books and Tapes Supply, 1996, 98-99), the Latino community faces a special challenge, for Latinos the only means of interaction is between themselves. First, most Muslims do not speak Spanish. Second, most Muslims ignore the importance and size of the Latino community. Documents have been printed in Islam in Spanish to rectify the effort to learn more about the Latino community. Some Latino Muslims have formed their own organizations to satisfy their need to know more about Islam. Emerick assures that the main problem is that there is a quite large group of Latino Muslims who are not listened to and guided to the correct information.

Most Latino Muslims look to other religions before coming to Islam without knowing anything about this religion. Many say they did not know any Muslims before reverting to the religion of Islam. Although some Latinos learned about Islam by coincidence, others actively sought out on their own account, others became closer to Islam thanks to da’wah. Therefore the work of promoting more da’wah is very important for this particular community.

What can we learn from people who revert to the religion of Islam? The Muslim community is still realizing how important da’wah is among the Latino community. Unfortunately, the larger Muslim community is unprepared to serve the Latino community which continues to grow. Some Latinos have shown their displeasure that in some Mosques the acceptance towards them is not very pleasant due to their ethnic appearance. However, the biggest argument is that both the groups that give da’wah as well as the Imams 2 are not trained to meet their needs, especially for those who need more information, speak little English, or need some kind of help.

The community is not the only culprit, Latino Muslims have until recently begun to express their needs and help their Mosques learn about their community. A few years ago, only a few Latino Muslims were doing such work. Today there are already several organizations. ISNA helped create a Latino Coordination Committee to foster communication between organizations and the National Muslim Community. Latino Muslims urgently need help from the wider Muslim community to ensure that da’wah activities continue.

How can you help? The Latino Muslim population is somewhat diverse, but their basic needs help create a unified community. The Muslim community can foster relationships with the Latino Muslim community, as well as with da’wah1, in the following ways:
– More interaction between Muslims and Latinos.
– All Mosques must have information about their Latino-Muslim community as well as information and National organizations to help and support Latino Muslims.
– Mosques should have on hand basic materials in Spanish as well as other languages, including Koran, books, tapes, and educational CDs.
– Mosques must identify Spanish-speaking Muslims (not necessarily Latinos), in order to guide them to know how to pray, read the Koran, and teach them about Islam in general.
– Da’wah committees should work with more local Latino Muslims to ensure that they receive da’wah effectively.
– Da’wah must be available in Spanish and other languages, depending on the type of community.
– Local communities should create discussion forums about issues of importance to Latino Muslims and Latinos in general.
– Muslims and Latino Muslims should participate in dialogues of faith in churches, mainly Catholic.
– Muslims and Latino Muslims should do volunteer work to help dense Latino populations both in schools and in neighborhoods.
– Donate time, money, and materials to local organizations and Mosques to meet the needs mentioned above.

© 2002 Islamic Horizons, Islamic Society of North America.
Translated by Rocío Martínez-Mendoza, 2003.

1. Da’wah is the work that every Muslim must do to spread Islam, whether through words or actions.
2. Imam is the person who leads the prayers in a Mosque, usually he is a person who has knowledge in Islam (school) and is sometimes hired by the Mosque to give courses or classes or talks regarding Islam.
3. Madhahib are Islam’s schools of thought, there are mainly four: Hanafi, Shafi`i, Maliki and Hanbali.
4. Shi’as are the group of Muslims who follow Ali (Prophet Muhammad’s cousin, may peace and blessings be upon him) and form a school of thought for themselves and differ from the root of Islam.
5. Sunnis are the group of Muslims who strictly follow the Qur’an and Sunnah (from Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him.)
6. Sufism, or Islamic mysticism, is an Islamic communal organization that attaches high importance to the shaykhs. Shaykhs have absolute authority and pass this authority on to their disciples. (The Oxford History of Islam, by John Esposito, Ed. Oxford University Press, 1999)

April - June 2003, Dawah, Islam

Fact Sheet: Islam in the United States


Islam is one of the fastest-growing religions in the US By the year 2010, America’s Muslim population is expected to surpass the Jewish population, making Islam the country’s second-largest faith after Christianity.1

The American Muslim community is a mosaic of cultures, its members having come from all of the five major continents. In fact, a recent survey showed that most Muslims are immigrants – 77.6% versus 22.4% US born.2

This same survey indicated that the ethnic origins of the Muslim community are as follows:

26.2% Middle East (Arab)
24.7% South Asia
23.8% African American
11.6% Other
10.3% Middle East (Not Arab)
6.4% East Asia

While there are no official population figures for religious affiliation in the United States, experts estimate that there are approximately six million American Muslims. Other estimates range from four to eight million.3

The Britannica Book of the Year estimated that, in mid-2000, there were 4,175,000 Muslims in the United States, 1,650,000 of whom are African American in origin. An average of 17,500 African Americans converted to Islam each year between 1990 and 1995.4

The earliest group of Muslims to arrive in America in significant numbers came from West Africa from 1530 to 1851, because of the slave trade. They comprised an estimated 14% to 20% of the hundreds of thousands of West Africans forcibly removed from their homelands.

The next sizable number of Muslims immigrated to the United States during the early 20th century. They came from Lebanon, Syria and other countries across the Ottoman Empire. 6

The post-World War II era, during the 1960s and ’70s, saw the third substantial wave of immigrants from all parts of the Islamic world. This wave included large numbers of Muslims who came to study at American universities. 7

Approximately a third of American Muslims live on the East Coast (32.2%), 25.3% live in the South, 24.3% in the Central / Great Lakes Region, and 18.2% in the West. 8

There are nearly 2000 mosques nationwide as well as numerous Islamic day schools and Sunday and weekend schools.9

1 Carla Power, “The New Islam,” Newsweek, March 16, 1998, p. 34.
2 Source: Zogby International, August 2000, Survey commissioned by the American Muslim Council.
3 Estimates vary widely for all the figures quoted throughout this fact sheet. In terms of overall population, MM Ali reports that there are 6 to 8 million Muslims in America in The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, May-June 1996, p. 13.
4 Encyclopedia Britannica. “Religious Adherents in the United States of America.” On Britannica.com http://www.britannica.com/. 5 Edward L. Queen, III, Stephen R. Prothero, and Gardiner Shattuck, Jr. The Encyclopedia of American Religious History. (New York: Facts on File, 1996), p. 319.
6 Ibid., P. 320.
7 Ibid.
8 Source: Zogby International, August 2000, Survey commissioned by the American Muslim Council.
9 Omar Khalidi, “Mosque,” In Wade Clark Roof, Contemporary American Religion. (New York: Macmillan, 2000). Also, Yvonne Haddad, “Islam in the United States: A Tentative Ascent; A Conversation,” US Society and Values: The Religious Landscape of the United States, March 1997.

April - June 2003, Dawah

Who is Allah?

by Abu Iman ‘Abd ar-Rahman Robert Squires


Some of the biggest misconceptions that many non-Muslims have about Islam have to do with the word “Allah”. For various reasons, many people have come to believe that Muslims worship a different God than Christians and Jews. This is totally false, since “Allah” is simply the Arabic word for “God” – and there is only One God. Let there be no doubt – Muslims worship the God of Noah, Abraham, Moses, David and Jesus – peace be upon them all. However, it is certainly true that Jews, Christians and Muslims all have different concepts of Almighty God. For example, Muslims – like Jews – reject the Christian beliefs of the Trinity and the Divine Incarnation. This, however, doesn’t mean that each of these three religions worships a different God – because, as we have already said, there is only One True God. Judaism, Christianity and Islam all claim to be “Abrahamic Faiths”, and all of them are also classified as “monotheistic”. However, Islam teaches that other religions have, in one way or another, distorted and nullified a pure and proper belief in Almighty God by neglecting His true teachings and mixing them with man-made ideas.

First of all, it is important to note that “Allah” is the same word that Arabic-speaking Christians and Jews use for God. If you pick up an Arabic Bible, you will see the word “Allah” being used where “God” is used in English. This is because “Allah” is the only word in the Arabic language equivalent to the English word “God” with a capital “G”. Additionally, the word “Allah” cannot be made plural or given gender (ie masculine or feminine), which goes hand-in-hand with the Islamic concept of God. Because of this, and also because the Qur’an, which is the holy scripture of Muslims, was revealed in the Arabic language, some Muslims use the word “Allah” for “God”, even when they are speaking other languages. This is not unique to the word “Allah”, since many Muslims tend to use Arabic words when discussing Islamic issues, regardless of the language which they speak. This is because the universal teachings of Islam – even though they have been translated in every major language – have been preserved in the Arabic language.

It is interesting to note that the Aramaic word “El”, which is the word for God in the language that Jesus spoke, is certainly more similar in sound to the word “Allah” than the English word “God”. This also holds true for the various Hebrew words for God, which are “El” and “Elah”, and the plural form “Elohim”. The reason for these similarities is that Aramaic, Hebrew and Arabic are all Semitic languages ​​with common origins. It should also be noted that in translating the Bible into English, the Hebrew word “El” is translated variously as “God”, “god” and “angel”! This imprecise language allows different translators, based on their preconceived notions, to translate the word to fit their own views. The Arabic word “Allah” presents no such difficulty or ambiguity, since it is only used for Almighty God alone. Additionally, in English, the only difference between “god”, meaning a false god, and “God”, meaning the One True God, is the capital “G”. In the Arabic alphabet, since it does not have capital letters, the word for God (ie Allah) is formed by adding the equivalent to the English word “the” (Al-) to the Arabic word for “god / God” (ilah ). So the Arabic word “Allah” literally it means “The God” – the “Al-” in Arabic basically serving the same function as the capital “G” in English. Due to the above mentioned facts, a more accurate translation of the word “Allah” into English might be “The One-and-Only God” or “The One True God”. since it is only used for Almighty God alone. Additionally, in English, the only difference between “god”, meaning a false god, and “God”, meaning the One True God, is the capital “G”. In the Arabic alphabet, since it does not have capital letters, the word for God (ie Allah) is formed by adding the equivalent to the English word “the” (Al-) to the Arabic word for “god / God” (ilah ). So the Arabic word “Allah” literally it means “The God” – the “Al-” in Arabic basically serving the same function as the capital “G” in English. Due to the above mentioned facts, a more accurate translation of the word “Allah” into English might be “The One-and-Only God” or “The One True God”. since it is only used for Almighty God alone. Additionally, in English, the only difference between “god”, meaning a false god, and “God”, meaning the One True God, is the capital “G”. In the Arabic alphabet, since it does not have capital letters, the word for God (ie Allah) is formed by adding the equivalent to the English word “the” (Al-) to the Arabic word for “god / God” (ilah ). So the Arabic word “Allah” literally it means “The God” – the “Al-” in Arabic basically serving the same function as the capital “G” in English. Due to the above mentioned facts, a more accurate translation of the word “Allah” into English might be “The One-and-Only God” or “The One True God”. the only difference between “god”, meaning a false god, and “God”, meaning the One True God, is the capital “G”. In the Arabic alphabet, since it does not have capital letters, the word for God (ie Allah) is formed by adding the equivalent to the English word “the” (Al-) to the Arabic word for “god / God” (ilah ). So the Arabic word “Allah” literally it means “The God” – the “Al-” in Arabic basically serving the same function as the capital “G” in English. Due to the above mentioned facts, a more accurate translation of the word “Allah” into English might be “The One-and-Only God” or “The One True God”. the only difference between “god”, meaning a false god, and “God”, meaning the One True God, is the capital “G”. In the Arabic alphabet, since it does not have capital letters, the word for God (ie Allah) is formed by adding the equivalent to the English word “the” (Al-) to the Arabic word for “god / God” (ilah ). So the Arabic word “Allah” literally it means “The God” – the “Al-” in Arabic basically serving the same function as the capital “G” in English. Due to the above mentioned facts, a more accurate translation of the word “Allah” into English might be “The One-and-Only God” or “The One True God”. is the capital “G”. In the Arabic alphabet, since it does not have capital letters, the word for God (ie Allah) is formed by adding the equivalent to the English word “the” (Al-) to the Arabic word for “god / God” (ilah ). So the Arabic word “Allah” literally it means “The God” – the “Al-” in Arabic basically serving the same function as the capital “G” in English. Due to the above mentioned facts, a more accurate translation of the word “Allah” into English might be “The One-and-Only God” or “The One True God”. is the capital “G”. In the Arabic alphabet, since it does not have capital letters, the word for God (ie Allah) is formed by adding the equivalent to the English word “the” (Al-) to the Arabic word for “god / God” (ilah ). So the Arabic word “Allah” literally it means “The God” – the “Al-” in Arabic basically serving the same function as the capital “G” in English. Due to the above mentioned facts, a more accurate translation of the word “Allah” into English might be “The One-and-Only God” or “The One True God”. So the Arabic word “Allah” literally it means “The God” – the “Al-” in Arabic basically serving the same function as the capital “G” in English. Due to the above mentioned facts, a more accurate translation of the word “Allah” into English might be “The One-and-Only God” or “The One True God”. So the Arabic word “Allah” literally it means “The God” – the “Al-” in Arabic basically serving the same function as the capital “G” in English. Due to the above mentioned facts, a more accurate translation of the word “Allah” into English might be “The One-and-Only God” or “The One True God”.

More importantly, it should also be noted that the Arabic word “Allah” contains a deep religious message due to its root meaning and origin. This is because it stems from the Arabic verb ta’allaha (or alaha), which means “to be worshiped”. Thus in Arabic, the word “Allah” means “The One who deserves all worship”. This, in a nutshell, is the Pure Monotheistic message of Islam. You see, according to Islam, “monotheism” is much more than simply believing in the existence of “only One God” – as seemingly opposed to two, three or more. If one understands the root meaning of the word “Allah”, this point should become clear. One should understand that Islam’s criticism of the other religions that claim to be “monotheistic” is not because they are ” , “man-worshipers” or “creature worshipers” might be more accurate and appropriate terms – especially since Christians believe Jesus to be both “100% God and 100% man”, while still paying lip-service to God’s “Oneness”. However, as we’re previously touched upon, what is really at the root of this problem is the fact that Christians – as well as the members of other religions – don’t really know what “monotheism” means – especially in the Islamic sense . All of the books, articles and papers that I’ve read which were written by Christians invariably limit “monotheism” to believing in the existence of “One Sovereign and Creator God”. Islam, however, teaches much more than this. It might be more accurate and appropriate terms – especially since Christians believe Jesus to be both “100% God and 100% man”, while still paying lip-service to God’s “Oneness”. However, as we’re previously touched upon, what is really at the root of this problem is the fact that Christians – as well as the members of other religions – don’t really know what “monotheism” means – especially in the Islamic sense . All of the books, articles and papers that I’ve read which were written by Christians invariably limit “monotheism” to believing in the existence of “One Sovereign and Creator God”. Islam, however, teaches much more than this. It might be more accurate and appropriate terms – especially since Christians believe Jesus to be both “100% God and 100% man”, while still paying lip-service to God’s “Oneness”. However, as we’re previously touched upon, what is really at the root of this problem is the fact that Christians – as well as the members of other religions – don’t really know what “monotheism” means – especially in the Islamic sense . All of the books, articles and papers that I’ve read which were written by Christians invariably limit “monotheism” to believing in the existence of “One Sovereign and Creator God”. Islam, however, teaches much more than this. while still paying lip-service to God’s “Oneness”. However, as we’re previously touched upon, what is really at the root of this problem is the fact that Christians – as well as the members of other religions – don’t really know what “monotheism” means – especially in the Islamic sense . All of the books, articles and papers that I’ve read which were written by Christians invariably limit “monotheism” to believing in the existence of “One Sovereign and Creator God”. Islam, however, teaches much more than this. while still paying lip-service to God’s “Oneness”. However, as we’re previously touched upon, what is really at the root of this problem is the fact that Christians – as well as the members of other religions – don’t really know what “monotheism” means – especially in the Islamic sense . All of the books, articles and papers that I’ve read which were written by Christians invariably limit “monotheism” to believing in the existence of “One Sovereign and Creator God”. Islam, however, teaches much more than this. All of the books, articles and papers that I’ve read which were written by Christians invariably limit “monotheism” to believing in the existence of “One Sovereign and Creator God”. Islam, however, teaches much more than this. All of the books, articles and papers that I’ve read which were written by Christians invariably limit “monotheism” to believing in the existence of “One Sovereign and Creator God”. Islam, however, teaches much more than this.

Suffice it to say that just because someone claims to be a “monotheistic” Jew, Christian or Muslim, that doesn’t keep them from falling into corrupt beliefs and idolatrous practices. Many people, including some Muslims, claim belief in “One God” even though they’ve fallen into acts of idolatry. Certainly, many Protestants accuse Roman Catholics of idolatrous practices in regards to the saints and the Virgin Mary. Likewise, the Greek Orthodox Church is considered “idolatrous” by many other Christians because in much of their worship they use icons. However, if you ask a Roman Catholic or a Greek Orthodox person if God is “One”, they will invariably answer: “Yes!”. This lip-service, however, does not stop them from being “creature worshiping” idolaters. The same goes for Hindus,

Everyone should be aware of the fact that throughout the long history of the “Abrahamic Faiths”, there have people who, while believing in “One God”, have adopted beliefs and practices that completely nullify their claim to “monotheism”. This is the Muslim view of Christians. We’re well aware of the fact that they claim belief in “One God” with their lips, but this doesn’t mean that they don’t nullify their claim in other ways. This is because many people simply haven’t been taught everything that Pure Monotheism entails. From an Islamic point of view, “monotheism” can be nullified in many ways. For example, simply believing that it is permissible to rule by Western “liberal” and “democratic” laws in lieu of the Divinely Revealed Law of Almighty God makes one a “polytheist”. Certainly, a person who does such a thing, whether Jewish, Christian or Muslim, doesn’t ever believe that there is another Almighty Creator and Sovereign Lord. However, for all practical purposes, such a person has taken another “god”, whether they choose to admit it or not. In this way they are associating partners with Almighty God (Arabic: shirk), and thus become a “polytheist” in a practical sense, regardless of their lip-service to “monotheism”. This holds true even if the person doesn’t believe what they are doing is “worship”. For example, Roman Catholics who pray to the Virgin Mary will staunchly deny that they are “worshiping” her. They instead call it “adoration” or some other watered-down term. However, from an Islamic point of view, what is worship if not this? Islam teaches that prayer and supplication are the marrow of worship, so if one directs their prayers to an intermediary (even if the pray is “ultimately” meant for God), then what is left of worship? Additionally, how can someone who believes in Almighty God follow man-made laws instead of God’s Law, without admitting that they’ve begun worshiping other than God? Do they know better than God? how can someone who believes in Almighty God follow man-made laws instead of God’s Law, without admitting that they’ve begun worshiping other than God? Do they know better than God? how can someone who believes in Almighty God follow man-made laws instead of God’s Law, without admitting that they’ve begun worshiping other than God? Do they know better than God?

Additionally, the Old Testament makes it perfectly clear that making a “graven image” of any created thing (not to mention ones which are supposed to “represent” Almighty God) is prohibited. Please see Exodus 20: 4-6, Leviticus 26: 1 and Deuteronomy 4:16, 23, 25, 5: 8 and Nehemiah 9: 6 for some statements in regards to this point. Without addressing the issue that Christians commonly violate the unambiguous commandment not to even “make” representations of anything that is in the “heavens above or on the earth”, these verses not only teach that worshiping idols is prohibited, but also that Almighty God is eternally distinct from His creation and thus nothing in His creation can represent Him. To believe otherwise is to be a de facto idol worshiper – even if one claims belief in one, and only one, “

By giving such clear and merciful guidance to human beings, God is establishing a universal and eternal Truth for the benefit of mankind. This eternal Truth is the bedrock of religious guidance, since once people begin to believe that Almighty God mixes with or can be represented by His creation, they can be duped into believing almost anything. Once someone accepts that God has become “incarnate” in His creation, or that someone or something is a “manifestation” – and thus representation – of Him, the floodgates are open and “Truth” becomes a matter of subjective guesswork. Once the first and most basic concept is violated – regardless of how complicated and sophisticated the rationale for it might be – it is very easy to fall further and further away from the Eternal Truth of Pure Monotheism. In the final analysis, it is not a question of whether God is capable of becoming a man, but rather a question of whether one bases their beliefs about God on clear, unambiguous and authentic guidance. Once it is left up to the human mind to decide what Almighty God can and cannot do, the stage is set for misguidance to take root. Human speculation about God only ends up leading to misguidance and despair, since no clear conclusions can ever be reached. For example, is God capable of creating an object so heavy that He is incapable of moving it? If not, does that mean that He is incapable? It is because of misguided questions like this that Islam clearly teaches that mankind should only say about God what He has said about Himself. This means all of our ideas about God must be based on Revelation – not human speculation. In short, the final prophet of Islam – Muhammad – was sent by Almighty God to preach the same Pure Monotheism that was practiced by Noah, Abraham, Moses, David and Jesus – peace be upon them all. This Pure Monotheism means not only believing that there is only One God in existence, but realizing that He is transcedent above His creation and that all worship is due to Him alone.

Before concluding, we should probably address the practice of those Muslims who insist on using the Arabic word “Allah” even when speaking English. Even though this practice certainly is not to be condemned when it is done around those who understand the meaning of the Arabic word “Allah”, it is my experience – both during my years as a non-Muslim and my years as a Muslim – that such a practice can (and usually does) breed misunderstanding. It seems that often times, many of the Muslims who use the word “Allah” in lieu of the word “God”, even when trying to attract people to Islam, are unaware of the severe misunderstandings that many non-Muslims have about Islam ( and the distorted way which Islam has been portrayed in the West). Insisting on using the word “Allah” only fuels the flames of misunderstanding – so there’s no good reason to do it. I’ve often wondered what value some Muslims think that using the word “Allah” adds to the Pure Message that they are trying to convey. (… and I’m still waiting for an answer!) Unfortunately, those Muslims who insist on using the word “Allah” even when addressing non-Muslims who are unfamiliar with Islam and the Arabic language, do both a disservice to themselves and their religion. Unfortunately, this practice is usually based on the false assumption – by a non-native speaker of English – that the word “God” in English is incapable of expressing a pure and proper belief in Almighty God. This is certainly false. If someone says that the English word “God” cannot be used to express the Pure Islamic Belief in Tawhid, they are wrong not because they don’t understand Tawhid, but simply because they don’t understand the English language. Many people who insist on using the Arabic word “Allah” usually don’t realize this, because in reality, they are not so much affirming the word “Allah” as they are rejecting the word “God” as unsuitable – based on incorrect assumptions . For someone to assume that the word “God” presupposes a certain theological point-of-view (such as the Trinity) is simply Wrong – and that’s Wrong with a capital “W”. To say the word “God” should be rejected because it can be changed into “god”, “gods” or “goddess” is illogical because each of these words has a distinctive meaning and a distinctive spelling – at least to someone who knows how to speak English correctly. Using the same logic, I can demonstrate that the root letters “ktb” can be used to form the Arabic words “kitab” (book), “maktabah” (library), “maktab” (office) and “kaatib” (writer) , but does that mean that these words have the same meaning? Do Arabic-speaking people go through life confusing libraries with writers and offices with books (both in conversation and in reality)? I think not! This is not to mention the fact that if the Arabic “Al-” was put in front of these words in order to make them definite, confusion would be even less likely! So the logic in both cases is the same, and this is because even though the same letters are used in “God” and “god”, these two words have two different meanings in the English language. The capital “G” implies something different than the small “g” – and anyone who denies this simply doesn’t know how to speak the English language.

In concluding this point, it should be mentioned that Arabic-speaking Muslims who believe in Pure Tawhid, Arabic-speaking Christians, the idol worshipers of Mecca and (so-called) Muslims who believe in “Wahdat al-Wujud” all use the word “Allah”. However, does this guarantee all of them proper belief in “Allah”? Certainly not, because if they have a corrupt concept of “Allah” it doesn’t matter what word they use!

This brings us to a more important point: It should be clearly understood that what Islam is primarily concerned with is correcting mankind’s concept of Almighty God. What we are ultimately going to be held accountable at the end of our life is not whether we prefer the word “Allah” over the word “God”, but what our concept of God is. Language is only a side issue. A person can have an incorrect concept of God while using the word “Allah”, and likewise a person can have a correct concept of God while using the word “God”. This is because both of these words are equally capable of being misused and being improperly defined. As we’ve already mentioned, using the word “Allah” no more insinuates belief in the Unity of God than the use of the word “God” insinuates belief in the Trinity – or any other theological opinion. Naturally, when God sends a revelation to mankind through a prophet, He is going to send it in a language that the people who receive it can understand and relate to. Almighty God makes this clear in the Qur’an, when He states:

“Never did We send a Messenger except (to teach) in the language of his (own) people in order to make (things) clear to them.” (Qur’an, Chapter 14 – “Abraham”, Verse 4)

As Muslims, we think that it is unfortunate that we have to go into details on such seemingly minor issues, but so many falsehoods have been heaped upon our religion, that we feel that it is our duty to try to break down the barriers of falsehood . This isn’t always easy, since there is a lot of anti-Islamic literature in existence which tries to make Islam look like something strange and foreign to Westerners. There are some people out there, who are obviously not on the side of truth, that want to get people to believe that “Allah” is just some Arabian “god”, and that Islam is completely “other” – meaning that it has no common roots with the other Abrahamic religions (ie Christianity and Judaism). To say that Muslims worship a different “God” because they say “Allah” is just as illogical as saying that French people worship another God because they use the word “Dieu”, that Spanish-speaking people worship a different God because they say “Dios” or that the Hebrews worshiped a different God because they sometimes call Him ” Yahweh “. Certainly, reasoning like this is quite ridiculous! It should also be mentioned, that claiming that any one language uses the only the correct word for God is tantamount to denying the universality of God’s message to mankind, which was to all nations, tribes and people through various prophets who spoke different languages. or that the Hebrews worshiped a different God because they sometimes call Him “Yahweh”. Certainly, reasoning like this is quite ridiculous! It should also be mentioned, that claiming that any one language uses the only the correct word for God is tantamount to denying the universality of God’s message to mankind, which was to all nations, tribes and people through various prophets who spoke different languages. or that the Hebrews worshiped a different God because they sometimes call Him “Yahweh”. Certainly, reasoning like this is quite ridiculous! It should also be mentioned, that claiming that any one language uses the only the correct word for God is tantamount to denying the universality of God’s message to mankind, which was to all nations, tribes and people through various prophets who spoke different languages.

Before closing, we would like everyone to be aware of the fact that some Christian missionary organizations print English literature intended to teach Christians about Islam which say such things as: “Allah is the god of the Muslims” and that “Muhammad came to get people to believe in the god Allah “- implying that” Allah “is some sort of false” god “. However, when these same organizations print literature in the Arabic language, hoping to lead Arabic-speaking Muslims “to Christ”, they use the word “Allah” for God. It seems that if they were on the side of truth, they would not have to resort to such inconsistencies. And on an even more ridiculous note. . . There are also missionary organizations that exceed this in ignorance (or deceit) by writing books that call on Muslims to give up their belief in “Allah”, and instead worship the “Lord” Jesus, “the Son of God”. Besides making it abundantly clear that they are outside the community of Pure Monotheism, the people who write such material don’t even realize that if they wrote such a pamphlet in Arabic, it would be self-contradictory. This is because in an Arabic Bible Jesus is the “Son of Allah”! If an Arabic-speaking person gave up the worship of “Allah”, they would have no God to worship, since “Allah” is simply the Arabic word for God! Besides making it abundantly clear that they are outside the community of Pure Monotheism, the people who write such material don’t even realize that if they wrote such a pamphlet in Arabic, it would be self-contradictory. This is because in an Arabic Bible Jesus is the “Son of Allah”! If an Arabic-speaking person gave up the worship of “Allah”, they would have no God to worship, since “Allah” is simply the Arabic word for God! Besides making it abundantly clear that they are outside the community of Pure Monotheism, the people who write such material don’t even realize that if they wrote such a pamphlet in Arabic, it would be self-contradictory. This is because in an Arabic Bible Jesus is the “Son of Allah”! If an Arabic-speaking person gave up the worship of “Allah”, they would have no God to worship, since “Allah” is simply the Arabic word for God!

Before we conclude, however, we would like to ask our readers to ask themselves what they think the reasons are behind all of these lies? If Islam was just some false religion that didn’t make any sense, would so many people, from Western scholars to Christian missionaries, have to tell so many lies about it? The reason is that the Ultimate Truth of Islam stands on solid ground and its unshakable belief in the Unity of God is above reproach. Due to this, Christians can’t criticize its doctrines directly, but instead make up things about Islam that aren’t true so that people lose the desire to learn more. If Muslims were able to present Islam in the proper way to people in the West, it surely might make many people reconsider and re-evaluate their own beliefs. It is quite likely that Christians,

 © 1998, 1999, 2000 – MUSLIM ANSWERS, PO Box 1227, Windermere, FL 34786 – USA

Dawah, Islam, Jan - Mar 2003, Quran

The Prophet’s Night Journey

The Prophet’s Night Journey From Makkah To The Farthest Mosque In Jerusalem, And Ascent To The Heavens
Sardar, Ziauddin. “MUHAMMAD: Aspects of His Biography.” Excerpt.
The Islamic Foundation: Leicester, UK. 1982.

On the night of the twenty-seventh Rajab, Muhammad (peace be upon him) was in a deep sleep in a house in Makkah when (Gabriel) woke him up. With the archangel was Al-Buraq: an animal unique in creation. It resembled lightning in swiftness and lustre, was of clear white colour, medium in size, smaller than a mule and taller than an ass, and so quick in movement that it put its feet in the farthest limits of sight. The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) sat on the back of Al-Buraq and in a twinkling, he travelled from Makkah to the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem, where he led all the Prophets of the past in prayer. He was then taken to the sacred rock, from where he ascended to the Heavens.

Glorified (and Exalted) is He (Allah), Who had His slave Muhammad (peace be upon him) for a journey by night from Al-Haram Mosque (at Makkah) to Al-Aqsa Mosque (in Jerusalem) whose surroundings we have blessed so that we might show him (Mohammed) of our signs, proofs, lessons, etc! Verily, He is All-Hearer, the All-Seer. The Qur’an 17:1

When they reached the first heaven Gabriel asked the guardian angel to open the door of heaven. It was opened and he saw Adam, the progenitor of mankind. The Prophet (peace be upon him) saluted him and the other welcomed him and expressed his faith in Muhammad’s Prophethood. He saw the souls of martyrs on his right and those of the wretched on his left.

Gabriel then ascended with the Prophet to the second heaven, asked for opening the gate and there he saw and saluted John, son of Zachariya (Yahya bin Zakarlya) and Jesus, son of Mary. They returned the salutation, welcomed him and expressed their faith in his Prophethood. Then they reached the third heaven where they saw Joseph (Yusuf) and saluted him. The latter welcomed the Prophet and expressed faith in his Prophethood.

The Prophet, in the company of Gabriel, then reached the fourth heaven where he met the Prophet Enoch (Idris) and saluted him. Prophet Enoch returned the salutation and expressed faith in his Prophethood. Then he was carried to the fifth heaven where he met the Prophet Aaron (Harun) and saluted him. The latter returned the salutation and expressed faith in his Prophethood.

In the sixth heaven he met Moses (Musa) and saluted him. The latter returned the salutation and expressed faith in his Prophethood. Muhammad (peace be upon him) on leaving, saw that Moses began to weep. He asked about the reason. Moses answered that he was weeping because he witnessed a man sent after him as a Messenger (Muhammad) who was able to lead more of his people to the Paradise than he himself did.

Then Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) reached the seventh heaven and met Abraham (lbrahim) and saluted him. The latter returned the salutation and expressed faith in his Prophethood. Then he was carried to Sidrat-al- Muntaha (the remotest lote tree) and was shown Al-Bait-al-Ma ‘mar [(the much frequented house) which is like the Ka’bah (Sacred House) encompassed daily by seventy thousand angels, so that the angels who once encompassed it would not have their turn again till the Resurrection]. He was then presented to the Divine Presence and experienced the thrill of witnessing the Divine Glory and Manifestation at the closest possible propinquity. There the Lord revealed unto His servant that which He revealed, and ordained fifty daily prayers for him. On his return, he spoke to Moses that his followers had been enjoined to pray fifty times a day. Moses addressing the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “Your followers cannot perform so many prayers. Go back to your Lord and ask for a remission in number.”

The Prophet (peace be upon him) turned to Gabriel as if holding counsel with him. Gabriel nodded, “Yes, if you desire,” and ascended with him to the Presence of Allah. The All-Mighty Allah, Glory is to Him, made a reduction of ten prayers. He then descended and reported that to Moses, who again urged him to request for a further reduction. Muhammad (peace be upon him) once more begged his Lord to reduce the number still further.

He went again and again in the Presence of Allah at the suggestion of Moses for reduction in the number of prayers till these were reduced to five only. Moses again asked him to implore for more reduction, but he said: “I feel ashamed now of repeatedly asking my Lord for reduction. I accept and resign to His Will.”

While he (Gabriel) was in the highest part of the horizon, Then he (Gabriel) approached and came closer, And was at a distance of two bows length or (even) nearer. So (Allah) revealed to His slave Muhammad (peace be upon him) through (Gabriel) whatever He revealed The Qur’an 53 : 8-10

Creation moved on to continue its expansion. At sunrise, Muhammad (peace be upon him) sat, remembering Allah, in his particular place in the Haram Mosque. Abu Jahl, his lifelong enemy, came and enquired: “0 Muhammad, have you one of those marvelous tales we hear from you so often to tell us this morning ?” The Prophet described his night journey from Makkah to Jerusalem, the Isra’, and his ascension to the heavens, the Al-Mi’raj. The people of Makkah knew that Muhammad had never been to Jerusalem. Could he describe the city for them? Muhammad obliged.

What about the journey from Makkah to Jerusalem? Did Muhammad see anything en route?

“In the valleys of Makkah,” replied the Prophet, “I met a caravan, one whose camel had taken fright and run away. I warned them of this. Then I saw another caravan that had encamped for the night. Outside the principal tent stood a jar of water with a cover on it. I drank water from the jar and replaced the cover as it was before. This same caravan is now approaching Bayda and will shortly enter Makkah. It is led by a dark grey camel, carrying a double load, one half black and the other of various colours.”

The people of Makkah went out of the city and found a caravan answering to the description given by the Prophet. They questioned the members of the caravan about the jar of water, and obtained satisfactory answers. They even discovered the caravan whose camel had run away, and they confirmed that in that very valley the members of the caravan heard a voice warning them of the camel’s escape.

Abu Jahl asked Abu Bakr, “Do you believe in the extraordinary adventure of your Prophet? He pretends to have accomplished in the night the journey from the sacred Mosque of Makkah to the Al Aqsa Mosque of Jerusalem-there and back!” Abu Bakr’s answer was a cool ‘yes’. “What ever Muhammad says is true and I believe it. If he maintains that he went up to the seventh heaven in one hour and came back in the same space of time, I would still have faith in his declarations”.

Abu Jahl’s attempt to cast doubts into the minds of the believers succeeded only in strengthening their beliefs. The unbelievers of Makkah were astonished at the Prophet’s detailed description of the Jerusalem mosque and his encounter with the caravans. For them truth was bitter. They retaliated by increasing their hostilities towards the Muslims. It became increasingly obvious that the Muslims no longer had any option but to migrate from Makkah. The revelations of the Qur’an prepared Muslims for this move. The revelations after the Mi’raj deal with various issues of state policy-human rights, economic guidance, penal reforms, educational ideals and social relations. All these were pointers towards a new era.

Dawah, Oct - Dec 2002

From the Teacher’s Desk

By Tweaka Temple Dilek

From the Teacher’s Desk, I

Salaam alaykum, Insha’Allah everyone is well and your month of Ramadan had been well. As a Muslim educator working in a school with a population that is 95% Hispanic, this month gives special opportunities and also difficulties.

As we are all aware an important part of being a good Muslim is Dawah, calling others to Islam. As there have been countless articles posted dealing with this subject, I will not delve into it. However, this is an excellent time for your child to show pride about their Muslim identity but they can’t do it with out YOU.

All children are subject to peer pressure. This year I have one student who was embarrassed to tell me she was Muslim. Why you might ask? Think, she is the only religious minority in this ESL class. She doesn’t want to be “different”. Your child may find themselves in the same position.. He or she may feel anxious as this young student did. The way to combat this is to become involved with your child’s class and speak with their teacher.

Call for a Conference
The first thing you should do is call for a conference with the teacher. During this meeting make them aware of Ramadan and its significance to your child. (It would be best if you are friendly and warm during this meeting. This could very well set the tone for the rest of the year.)

Generally, teachers do lessons such as “Christmas Around the World” or “Winter Holidays.” In accordance with policy, the lessons should be informational but religion is not to be taught. ( In my class I do one day about Santa and how he was developed in Europe, Hanukkah and also Ramadan. Each with equal time and attention.) Assisting the teacher with the lesson about Ramadan would be an excellent way to make sure that the lesson isn’t slanted and that the right information is presented. Surely, any teacher would want a “parent volunteer.”

Ideas for a lesson might include: pictures of mosques, Islamic art that the children create or color, a book or movie about Ramadan and quick finger food you have at your home. (Movies can be obtained at a library or Education Service Center).

Be Visible
Visit your child at school. This works especially well with students through Middle School. Spend time with them during the lunch break if they are old enough to fast. If not, then spend lunch with them. This is especially important for sisters who cover. I have found students who are embarrassed to have a hijaabi mother come to school because of other’s student’s comments. When asked it was because the mother was never involved in the past. START NOW!! I have found that students accept you “as is”. This is my first year wearing hijaab at work. My student’s accepted this as “the way I am” and don’t give another thought to it. In short, if they (your student’s classmates) are accustomed to seeing hijaab it won’t be traumatic when your daughter wears it.

Read the Social Studies Text of your Child
Finally, take a look at your child’s Social Studies book. By 3rd grade other cultures are presented. Find out how Islam and Muslims are portrayed. If Muslims or Islam are listed in the index of the student book there should be background information listed in the Teacher’s Edition. It would be a good idea to find out what is written to assist the teacher in presenting the lesson. Simply ask the principal or teacher during your conference if you could take a look at it. There should be NO problem with this AT ALL.

Insha’Allah this will help you have a wonderful experience with your child.

From the Teacher’s Desk, II

What is your child eating at school?

“Forbidden to you ( for food) are dead meat, blood, the flesh of swine and that on which hath been invoked a name other than that of Allah [Al-Qu’ran 5:3]”

Those words are more than enough for any Muslim to steer clear of pork derived products and to ensure that their children are not coming into contact with it either. But what is your child eating at school?

This question was raised in my mind when a Muslim student placed school lunch “mystery meat” on his plate. When we discovered that it wasn’t beef but pork, we (the student and I) sought to return it we were met with resistance. The cafeteria manager said that she would return it “just this once” but that the child needed to bring a doctor’s excuse in the future. I kindly explained that it was a religious issue. She responded that “it might not be good enough.” Needless to say this was taken up with school administration and promptly handled. The food was replaced and all was well, al-hamdulillah. But had I not been present? Allahu Alim but I fear this child would have been short changed.

How can you prevent this?

1. The first step is to get a copy of the lunch menu from your school.

According to the Department of Agriculture school food authorities have to advise children and their parents of the use of various types of meat. Foods should be clearly marked if they contain pork. Should the meat be blended it must be clearly m arked. The rule states, “If a school sends menus home, blended products and dishes must not be portrayed as solely beef, pork, poultry or seafood.”

2. Send a letter to school stating that your child should not be allowed to choose products containing pork.

Many school students have dietary restrictions. Once documented, the school must offer other choices to that student. Religious reasons are just as valid as health issues or allergies. Make sure that they know you are aware of that.

3. Speak with your child.

Take a look at the menu with your child and make sure they understand what could be hazardous. Encourage them to speak out and ask questions about the content of meals. This is especially true for our young sisters.

4. Send lunch to school with your child.

If there is a doubt that your child might have difficulties selecting the main course without pork, send lunch with them on those days.

From the Teacher’s Desk, III

ESL Beyond Spanish

In my work with students from around the globe, I have found that the majority make many of the same errors when trying to decipher English. Some of these errors include: attempting to pronounce every consonant in words, not recognizing the multiple pronunciation of vowels, and not being aware of the correct position of accents in English words. As English speakers, we have grown accustomed to omitting sound and even whole syllables in words. These errors can be a baffling experience for those new to the English language. These errors can cause children to become disheartened and frustrated. Insha’Allah, this won’t happen with your child. Fortunately, there are things that you can do to help.

I have been an educator for eight years. I work with bilingual and ESL students. I will provide suggestions to assist our Muslim youth in school. Insha’Allah, my few ideas will help your child excel in reading.

Getting Started

For each student, begin with a list of high frequency words (these can be obtained from your child’s teacher). Have a native English speaker listen to your student pronounce each word and list the ones that are difficult. This list of target words can be audio taped for the child to practice with. Ratiocination is a new trend in learning a new language. Many of us practiced saying lists of words as children to memorize them. Now we have learned that saying these words “to a beat” helps children as well. A quick example pattern would be:


A quick drill at home or in the car for five minutes daily is far more beneficial than a 30 minute block on the weekend.


Gesturing can be an important aid. Allowing children to make gestures when saying words helps them to build meaning and can make learning fun. For example, hands together motioning from side to side can help a child remember the word “fish.” Also, there are many cognates between Spanish and English, words that sound the same and have similar meanings i.e. interesante, estudiante, pluma etc.

Using a mirror can help when there are sounds in English that are not in a child’s native language. The “th” sound is lacking in many languages. I had a Turkish student who would change “thinking” into “tinking.” Have your child watch a native English speaker speak saying the sound or word repeatedly. Then have your child say the word in front of a mirror to watch for tongue placement.

Reading Comprehension

Reading comprehension is difficult for children of all ages. Reading comprehension is essentially the ability to understand effectively what you are reading. It is no longer sufficient to simply tell basic facts of a story. Children are now required to manipulate what they have read, draw conclusions and inferences as early as the 3rd grade. You can help your children by having them bring home their reading book daily. Read the story assigned with them and then ask questions about the story.

1. What is the main idea of the story? (Who are the most important characters? What did they do? Where did this happen?)
2. What are some details supporting the main idea you found?
3. What was the “problem” in the story?
4. How was it solved?
5. Was this fantasy or reality?
6. How do you know?
7. Tell me emotions of the characters at various points in the story.
8. Create a new ending.

Your child’s teacher should have a test or activity to test for comprehension. Ask for copies of past evaluations to find exactly what types of questions they are expected to answer.


I recently found a few websites that may be of assistance. They are:


Remember, a teacher’s best friend is an involved parent. Contact your children’s teachers to become a part of the learning process. Also, work with your children at home. Insha’Allah, your child will benefit from just a few moments of your time.

Dawah, Oct - Dec 2002

Lessons from a Dawah Barbeque

By Isa Lima

I remember the last time I tried to participate in dawah work with Hispanics. We sort of went out into Culmore, the Spanish neighborhood close to the Darul Hijrah mosque in Virginia. We set up a barbeque and a table full of pamphlets. One bro was grilling burgers; another was yelling “FREE FOOD!” I was trying to give an overview of Islam to those who were coming, and other brothers were giving pamphlets out. If people showed a lot of interest and wanted to know even more than what the pamphlets said, we’d give them a Spanish translation of the Qur’an.

We were at some soccer fields. We gave out pamphlets along with food…we went on and on…all day. Some things I learned from that experience are the following:

1. Don’t go out to give dawah with 12 ambitious well-intended, English-speaking brothers and one Hispanic brother. The Hispanic bro will collapse.
2. Learn Central American slang to communicate with Central Americans. It’s a completely different language I tell you.
3. Be consistent. Come back to the neighborhood every weekend or whenever you can.
4. Don’t show up wearing thobes. Otherwise, you will have to explain to Hispanics why such and such brothers are wearing “skirts,” which aren’t really “skirts.”
5. Realize that you will be talking to drunkards, drug addicts, and people from the slap-a-ho tribe, and men lacking common knowledge of hygiene.
6. Don’t bring too many sisters with you because you’ll have to defend them from alcoholics. I’m serious.
7. Bring a truckload of Spanish translations of the Qur’an and pamphlets on Islam.
8. Bring big brothers in case you have to rumble with La Mara Sapatrucha or whatever the hell it’s called. Latin Kings..la misma vaina.
9. Make sure the masjid has your name and number in case people come in asking for a Muslim to speak about Islam in Spanish. This goes the same for Portuguese speakers.
10. If any people accept Islam that don’t speak English very well, try to set up a Spanish speaking Qur’an class.

Dawah, July - Sept 2002, Latino Muslims

Islam Among Latino Texans

By Juan Galvan

American Latinos offer a unique gift to the Islamic dawah movement in America. Most Americans do not know much about Islam. Americans say that Allah is not mentioned in the Bible. We respond by proclaiming, “Allah, God, and Dios mean ‘God’ in different languages.” Many Americans say that Islam is a religion for only Arabs. We respond by proclaiming, “I am a Latino Muslim.” Unfortunately, Americans confuse Islam with race and nationality. Islam is God’s true, universal religion. Let all Americans wonder, “Why are so many Latinos converting to Islam? What is it about that religion?” Latino Muslims have contributed much to understanding the need for Islam in North America. I personally have experienced the need for Islam in Texas and specifically, among Latino Texans.

While lying on my bed a few days after my reversion to Islam, I thought about the many Latinos in my apartment complex. My thoughts then shifted to the large number of Latinos in my neighborhood, then in Austin, then in Texas, then in the US. According to the American Muslim Council, 20% of all Muslims live in California, 16% in New York, and 3% percent in Texas. According to the latest US census, Latino Texans comprise 32% of the Texas population and comprise 25% of the US Latino population. Success of Islam in Texas depends upon the fastest growing Texas minority group embracing the fastest growing American religion…Islam.

Unfortunately, we Texas Muslims have not created the foundation needed to reach any Texan. Last summer while visiting my family, I could not find a Qur’an or any other Islamic literature in the local library. Texas Muslims must establish educational, social, and political Islamic institutions within all major Texas cities. Texas Muslims are isolated geographically from the more established Islamic communities within the US. More American Muslims live in New Jersey than in Texas. With the exception of Houston, no solid foundation exists for spreading Islam within most cities across Texas. To no surprise, higher reversion rates exist in Houston. All Texans need to be educated about Islam. Islamic literature must be freely available to all Texans. In particular, Latino Texans need Spanish literature including books, audiotapes, videotapes, and instructional CDs.

Most of my family lives in the Texas Panhandle and the Texas Rio Grande Valley region. My parents grew up in the Rio Grande Valley and would later move to the Panhandle to work in cotton fields. I never met a Muslim until I attended Texas Tech University in Lubbock. Like most of America, Texas needs established mosques and trained Imams. Texans need an accredited Islamic university in Houston. We must encourage Latinos to become Imams. The only established mosques in the entire Panhandle are in Amarillo and Lubbock. In the Rio Grande Valley region, the only established mosque is in Weslaco. A mosque must be established in Brownsville. Currently, a couple of Brownsville apartments are used as mosques.

We cannot build a firm basis for Islam in Texas without establishing a support and educational network of Latino and non-Latino Muslims. Knowledgeable Latino Muslims, new Latino Muslims, and Latinos interested in Islam have similar and different needs. An estimated one-third to half of all Muslim converts leave Islam. Latinos interested in Islam fear negative comments, loneliness, rejection, and alienation from friends and family. Living in Texas within the Bible Belt merely complicates life for Latino Muslims even more. When I embraced Islam, I did not know any Latino Muslims in Austin. Texas cities need alternative forms of entertainment for all Muslims. All Muslims must educate themselves and be prepared to explain their faith. We Muslims should not customize our religion to fit our own needs and desires.

Most Muslims and Latinos live in the major cosmopolitan areas of America. This is also true for Texas Latinos and Muslims. Most Texas Muslims live in the Houston and DFW regions. In addition to these two regions, the largest numbers of Texas Latinos live in the San Antonio, El Paso, and Rio Grande Valley regions. Texas Latino dawah efforts should target these larger regions. Latino reversion rates are likely to trickle down to smaller cities.

Islam is the answer to correct the various problems within our American cities. We must let them see the beauty of Islam by those who follow example of the Prophet (pbuh). We must struggle to assist all Americans in need. We should establish orphanages, homeless shelters, and educational centers for Americans. Poverty rates, health conditions, and educational attainment on the Rio Grande Valley region are also among the worst in America. Dawah to Texas Latino prisoners is virtually nonexistent. We American Muslims must work together to end the cycle of poverty and crime that is prevalent within our cities. We must work together to build a solid foundation for Islam in Texas. Many things are possible if we who follow the true path work together.

April - June 2002, Dawah

Four Principles of Dawah

By Juan Galvan

Earlier this year, I asked a local Imam advice about dawah. He replied, “Sincerity. Intention. Tension. Manners. First, you must be sincere. Your intentions and actions must be only for the sake of Allah (swt). Expect tension. Have manners.”

1. Sincerity.
“Say, Verily my prayer, my sacrifice, my living, and my dying are for Allah, the Lord of the Worlds.”(Qur’an 6:162). All our actions should be acts of worship. Sincerity ensures that your intentions and actions are only for the sake of Allah. Our actions must not be tainted by our own desires.

The work you’re doing doesn’t have worldly returns. Don’t expect any worldly returns. If you always expect things and are waiting for things, you’ll never get work done. You will never the get recognition you deserve. All actions are only to gain pleasure from Allah.

By ensuring our intentions are purely for Allah, we free ourselves from expectations of worldly rewards. We don’t expect acknowledgement, wealth, anything. We are sacrificing our time purely for the Deen without expectations. “[Do not follow] the lust (of thy heart), for it will mislead thee from the Path of God.” (Qur’an 38:26).

Race to do good deeds. Friendly competition benefits everyone. Ultimately, we are on the same side. This attitude helps lessen stress and dangerous levels of competition. Sometimes, you will work with people you neither trust nor admire.

A sincere Muslim does not deny anything that is known by necessity to be part of Islam. We cannot make something Halal that is Haram, or something Haram that is Halal. Sincerely repent after committing sins and avoid telling others to avoid setting a bad example. Sincere Muslims practice their religion and educate themselves.

Sincerity requires consistent actions around others and when alone. Respect and good-manners toward others should be sincere. We must be sincere toward everyone. Sincere Muslims should care about current problems and issues within the entire community. Islam is the true, universal religion of our Creator. Allah is All-Hearing, All-Knowing, All-Aware.

2. Intention.
The Prophet (saw) said: “Actions are only by intention, and every man shall only have what he intended.” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim). Actions begin with an intention.

Intention gives you direction. Intention also allows you to quantify your actions. Many new Muslims want to help but have no idea where to start. State your intentions in clear terms. Set deadlines when possible.

Intentions guide actions. What actions do you need to take? What are your strengths and weaknesses? What sacrifices will you need to make? Time. Economic. Emotional.

Always, check your intentions. You may need to modify them. Be flexible. Check your intentions for sincerity. First things first. Prioritize. Learn to think in terms of one year, five years, and fifteen years from now.

Educate yourself. You can only teach up to what you know. No more and no less.

Consider whom you befriend. People want you to follow them. Do not blindly follow people. You may never fully trust the people you follow and/or lead. Know when to lead and when to follow.

“To each is a goal to which Allah turns him; then strive together (as in a race) towards all that is good. Wheresoever ye are, Allah will bring you together. For Allah Hath power over all things.” (Qur’an 2:148). Race to do good deeds. Set your intentions. People with similar interests will miraculously enter your life. When you take a step toward Allah, He will come running toward you.

“Invite (all) to the Way of your Lord with wisdom and beautiful preaching; and argue with them in ways that are best and most gracious…” (Qur’an 16:125). Analyze people and situations. Consider current knowledge, background, customs, and culture. Avoid using expressions and vocabulary unfamiliar to non-Muslims. Use little Arabic at first.

Begin by teaching the basics. Begin with Tawheed. Tawheed is the “Unification of Lordship, of Worship, and of His Names and Attributes.” Don’t confuse people. Explain what Tawheed means. We can’t isolate ourselves from non-Latino Muslims and non-Muslims.

The three fundamental concepts of Islam are Tawheed, Prophethood, and Day of Judgment. Explain the Pillars of Faith. Explain the Pillars of Islam. Explain common misconceptions about Islam. People think you’re a terrorist. Maybe.

3. Tension.
“How many of the Prophets fought (in God’s way), and with them (fought) large bands of godly men? But they never lost heart if they met with disaster in God’s way, nor did they weaken (in will) nor give in. And God loves those who are firm and steadfast.” (Qur’an 3:146).

Anyone who gives dawah will experience tension. You will be criticized. The more you do, the more criticism you will get. You will need to give advice, suggestions, and ask questions.

Expect tests and trials. Your patience will be tested. You will make mistakes. Learn from your mistakes. Don’t give up. Read your tension. Tension often speaks to you.

Perform an action then leave the results in the hands of Allah. You can’t control everything. Allah knows best. Patience. Everyone is busy; all the time. Only Allah knows what’s in your heart.

Be committed. Make things happen. Next time, you’ll get more volunteers. Remind people. We forget. Time is the most valuable asset you can give. People are your most valuable asset.

The Prophet would assign Muslims jobs according to their ability. We will not all be scholars, administrators, or heroes. Do your best with what is available. “And in no wise covet those things in which Allah Hath bestowed His gifts more freely on some of you than on others.” (Qur’an 4:32).

Don’t be a hypocrite. You will be called a hypocrite. Don’t burn bridges. You will burn bridges. Consequences come from our behavior. Don’t be afraid to make decisions. Get advice and ask questions when appropriate. Listen.

We’re on the same side. Seek to empower people rather than making them your slaves. The more you help others, the more they can do for themselves and others. That’s freedom for everyone. Seek long-term friendships.

Everyone is a human with feelings and needs. Everyone thinks they are right. Watch your ego. Know when to let go of your pride.

4. Manners.
Abd Allah ibn ‘Amr said, “The Prophet of Allah, upon him be peace, was never obscene or coarse. Rather, he used to tell us that the best among us were those with the best manners.” (Bukhari). I have emphasized manners throughout the other points.

Bad morals destroy society. People will avoid and humiliate you. No one will like your personality. Avoid people who have bad manners.

“And worship Allah and associate naught with Him, and show kindness to parents, and to kindred, and orphans, and the needy, and to the neighbour who is a kinsman and the neighbour who is a stranger, and the companion by your side, and the wayfarer, and those whom your right hands possess. Surely, Allah loves not the arrogant and the boastful.” (Qur’an 4:36).

People who follow the example of the Prophet attract people. Be a role model. Be wise. Be patient. Be truthful. Be fair. Be courageous. Be considerate. Be just. Be generous. Be compassionate. Be forgiving. Be respectful.

May Allah guide us all. Surely, Allah SWT is the best guide.

Dawah, Jan - Mar 2002, Latino Muslims, Organizations

How Non-Latino Muslims Can Help

Assalaam alaiykum,

Muslims from various backgrounds must work together to spread Islam among Latinos. There’s always dawah work to be done. LADO recognizes the need to specifically target Latinos and thus seeks to assist in dawah efforts among Latinos. Some of our most active supporters are not Latino at all. Latinos cannot and should not isolate themselves from the general Muslim population.

LADO’s motto is: “¡Puro Latino! ¡Puro Islam! ¡A su LADO!”

Here is a list of things you can do…

  • Greater interaction among Muslims and Latinos is needed. Participate in Latino forums, seminars, and volunteer work. Invite Latinos to join your Muslim community activities.
  • Make sure your mosque and Muslim institutions/organizations contain Spanish and Portugeuse literature. This includes Qurans, books, cassettes, and instructional CDs.
  • Keep Spanish Islamic literature in your office, home, and car ready for distribution among interested Latinos. You can print out and distribute Spanish, Portugeuse, and English literature found in the online LADO library.
  • You can also help out with our various projects.
  • You can organize a list of Latino Muslims who would like to help/join LADO. Do you know any Latino Muslims? Let us know.
  • Are you looking for Latino Muslims in your area? Let us know. We have contacts around the country. Search for local Latino Muslims and initiate dialogue.
  • Organize a list of Latino Muslims for future reference. You never know when a Latino interested in Islam needs to speak with a Spanish speaker.
  • Encourage Latino Muslims to advance their Islamic knowledge by studying in various Islamic institutions, including distance learning.
  • Let Latinos know that Latino Muslims exist. Tell them about LADO, about Latinodawah.org, and about HispanicMuslims.com. If any Latino you know expresses an interest in Islam, give him/her our e-mail address.