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.