Some thoughts and reactions to the somewhat controversial video “Somewhereinamerica MIPSTERZ”.
The original video:
We, the American Muslim community, currently have an inability to not only determine what is “authentically Islamic” but even more detrimentally, we lack gumption and authority to bestow Islamisity to our general environment. The result of this communal apathy has been a near-complete paralysis of the Muslim community to insure its survival in America, let alone thrive.
Our focus must move to enable this capacity to bestow authenticity to our lives or we will go the way of the Do Do, as have and as are other faith communities.
Islam is not only a blessing it dignifies the human being. This is so plainly displayed on my brave sister Ameena Mathews in her acceptance speech on BET:
وَلَقَدْ كَرَّمْنَا بَنِي آدَمَ وَحَمَلْنَاهُمْ فِي الْبَرِّ وَالْبَحْرِ وَرَزَقْنَاهُمْ مِنَ الطَّيِّبَاتِ وَفَضَّلْنَاهُمْ عَلَىٰ كَثِيرٍ مِمَّنْ خَلَقْنَا تَفْضِيلً
“And We have honored the Children of Adam and conveyed them on land and sea and provided them with good things and preferred them greatly over many We have created.”
May Allah bless and preserve her and her family.
The first in, God willing, a series of podcasts, dealing with issues and challenges facing the American Muslim community. In this first episode, we discuss the significance, or lack there of, of conversion to Islam.
The following is a segment from Dr. Sherman Jackson’s On the Bounds of Theological Tolerance in Islam. I find this passage to be worthy of required reading status.
“As Islam moved out of its isolation in Arabia to settle among the inhabitants if the world of Late Antiquity, where geography, history, and tradition had endowed different individuals and communities with more fundamentally different ways and approaches to thinking. These different endowments would lead in turn to different attitudes towards and approaches to theology. This was the beginning and most important source of theological discord in Islam, a full appreciation of which has only been obscured by the Muslim theologians’ rhetoric of transcendence.
Yet, the typical Western approach, which prides itself on its ability to see through the claims and attributions of the Muslim theologians, has not faired much better. Rather, it too has tended to impede rather than promote understanding of the impact of these differential historical endowments.
It is common knowledge that the influence of Christian theology, the Persian Zoroastrian and Manichaean traditions, and Indian and especially Greek philosophy on Muslim theological discourse was both fundamental and enduring1. Traditionally, however, Western scholars have portrayed this influence as an instance as an instance of cross-civilizational borrowing. At the same time, Muslims are said to have denied or played down this influence, based on their ideological commitment to the premise that ‘Islam is self-sufficient and that in Qur’an and Hadith it contains in essentials all the religious and moral truth required by all humanity to the end of time.’2 Under ordinary circumstances, fear of self-incrimination might pre-empt any reaction to such a view. But such depictions mask an important point that bears directly on our understanding of the nature and causes of theological discord—and thus the requirements and possibilities of theological tolerance—in Islam. Simply stated, the notion of Muslim ‘borrowing’ is based on an artificial bifurcation of the world of Late Antiquity and early Islam into Greek and Persian (alien), on the one hand, and Arab-Muslim (native), on the other, followed by the assumption that any elements of the former found among the latter must be the result of cross-civilizational borrowing. This picture becomes a bit more complicated, however, when we consider that the overwhelming majority of the early Muslims—as well as those who would become Arabs—had theretofore been ‘Greeks,’ Mazdakites, Manichaeans, Christians, and Zoroastrians. R. Bulliet goes a long way in confirming this in his book Conversion to Islam in the Medieval Period, and it si being pointed out with increasing frequency and clarity by historians of Late Antiquity, e.g., P. Brown, G.W. Bowersock, and O. Grabar in their recent edited volume, Late Antiquity. In fact, in that same volume, the Islamic historian Hugh Kennedy writes:
Of all the dividing lines set up between academic disciplines in the western intellectual tradition, the frontier between classical and Islamic Studies has proved among the most durable and impenetrable…[W]hereas late antiquity can be seen as part of the broader history of western civilization, the history of the Islamic world cannot. Yet reflection will soon suggest that the changes cannot have been so sudden and dramatic, especially at the level of the structures of everyday life, and that the Islamic was as much, and as little, a continuation of late antiquity as was western Christendom.”
If American Muslims are to understand where they are headed, it is essential that our educational efforts work towards empowering, demystifying and in particular for those Muslims who’ve hailed from the historical Muslim world, heal the trauma of their post-colonial experiences, so that we may move beyond many of these blockades, externally and self-imposed.
My name is Ahmad Alsardary and I am a kidney transplant patient. I am a 23 years old student attending school at the University of the Sciences in Philadelphia studying in the field of Occupational Therapy. When I was born, I was diagnosed with a disease called nephrotic syndrome which meant my kidneys were no longer functioning. At the age of 5, the doctors took both my kidneys out and I was put on Dialysis for 3 years. On March 31, 1998, I received a new kidney from a deceased person who had died from a car accident at the age of 16 (May God rest his soul). I have also had an open heart surgery at a young age. Along with kidney and heart problems, I also have asthma and sinus problems.
I lived with this kidney for 12 years and I was on immuno-suppressants along with many other various medications. A year and half ago, my kidney failed. So I am writing this to ask anyone who is interested in being a donor to perhaps step forward with no obligations and get tested to see if you are a good match to donate your kidney.
Despite all these problems, I have continued my education and I am a student in my last year studying for my Masters in Occupational Therapy for one main goal. I want to help others who have various medical diagnosis that inflict their daily lives. I want to help people who are less fortunate that I am in health. I live my life to the fullest and I have gone a long way in order to achieve this long term goal. If I don’t receive a kidney soon, I will not have the capability or the energy to fulfill my destiny of helping others.
At this point, my kidney has failed and I am on Dialysis three times a week for 4-6 hours each treatment. Dialysis is really horrible and exhausting on my whole body. However it helps clean my blood and allows me to keep living. Dialysis does make me exhuasted and nauseous throughout the day . I cannot drink too much fluid and I don’t have the pleasure of eating and drinking anything I want. On top of this I am in school so its very tiring! So I really am in a desperate situation. Again, I would kindly ask if anyone will step up and save my life. If you are unable to do so, a simple prayer or letting others know would be appreciated. Thank you and may God bless you.
If you are interested please contact me on Facebook or call me at 215-667-9395. Anyone who is blood type of B or O and has to be 21+ is a good candidate for donation.
Or contact the transplant coordinator:
There is a phone interview first to see if you are eligible. Ask for Donna Collins and her number is 215-662-6200 for any screening and preliminary interviews . If you would like to make the process faster, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will send you the application in which you can send it right away to them. Thanks you all for your support and prayers!
This is one Canadian teacher’s view on the root cause students struggle with learning Classical Qur’anic Arabic. Whether or not you agree with his views, I think it’s fair that we take him seriously since he has been teaching students for over 10 years both institutionally at the madrasah and online. Here’s the full PDF. Also see the video.
Inception was one of my favorite films of 2010. Like most viewers I enjoyed the film’s play on our senses: what constitutes fantasy and reality? Where does one begin and the other end, if there is indeed evening a beginning. So for this reason I was really happy to see the following essay, by Oludamini Ogunnaike, on the similarities between Christopher Nolan’s film and the writings of Ibn ‘Arabi. I hope to see more of this creative and critical engagement of western cinema and classical Islamic studies. Hat tip to Sami for the article.
A small clip from Inception where Dom Cobb explains the concept of the dream world.
The article from Ogunnaike.
The following videos as an amusing and insightful explanation of the identity crisis of the American Muslim as portrayed by Red Foxx and Demond Wilson, a.k.a., Sanford & Son. Hat tip to Haleem for this one.
With “boulevards” in every major city (despite that fact it’s almost always a demarker for black urban blight) and a national holiday, many of us have been led to an understanding of a man whose moral courage, while not capable of being challenged, is certainly misunderstood. In a transcript from a 1968 talk, just weeks before his assassination, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. gives us a window into the evolving nature of his mind and where, if he had lived, he might have taken not only Blackfolks but America as a whole:
At the very same time that America refused to give the Negro any land, through an act of Congress our government was giving away millions of acres of land in the West and the Midwest, which meant that it was willing to undergird its white peasants from Europe with an economic floor.
But not only did they give the land, they built land grant colleges with government money to teach them how to farm. Not only that, they provided county agents to further their expertise in farming. Not only that, they provided low interest rates in order that they could mechanize their farms.
Not only that, today many of these people are receiving millions of dollars in federal subsidies not to farm, and they are the very people telling the black man that he ought to lift himself by his own bootstraps. And this is what we are faced with, and this is the reality. Now, when we come to Washington in this campaign, we are coming to get our check.
Thanks to Khalis for reminding me of this one.
For a person who was born in a city, a street is as common as dirt. It’s an assumption: any old street will do. All roads lead Rome, if you will. From this perspective, any particular road is superfluous. The road is taken for granted.
For a person who was born in the wild, what need is there of a path? There are no roads. One wanders about, being guided by one’s senses and experiences. It’s simply not conceivable that something as structured as a road, let alone a city, could exist or have a meaningful purpose.
This seems to be two of the main perspectives for those who ask me about the madhabs and why I chose to follow one. The city-dweller is the Hanafi, the Shafi’i, the Hanbali, the Maliki. The madhab is often mistaken for the end goal; the journey itself. But not all roads lead to Rome and even those that do take varying routes. Some roads are cul-de-sacs, dead ends, round-abouts. But a good map will allow one to navigate with accuracy and confidence, which is surely one of the primary goals of the above Four Schools. The madhab takes the road from being superfluous to fluid.
My thoughts here are not for advocating about madhabs. There is enough information out there on that. But for those young or young-to-Islam individuals who have asked and inquired about the Four Schools, I leave these few breadcrumbs for you to contemplate on. Are you a city-dweller? One who, if he or she is honest, does not know how to cross an intersection without the help of a traffic light let alone function without structure and rules. Or are you a wanderer? That one who has no need of structure? If you pick the latter, then my question for you will be, how will you proceed? Don’t take these words as antagonistic but rather to challenge your pre-conceived notions of what constitutes structure and why adherence to it is, in your world view, intrinsically tainted.
Though I love and even long for the country, I’m a city-dweller at heart.