Problematizing Statistical Analysis of Blackamerican Participation in Farmers Markets

The following is a short paper/project that I did for a GIS course I took in the City & Regional Planning Department at the School of Design, University of Pennsylvania ,in 2011. I wanted to do a quick study to show the lack of presence of Blackamericans at farmers markets (predominantly white spaces).

Map A-1: Farmers Market Density
Map A-1: Philadelphia Farmers Market Density

It has been some measure of consternation as to why Blackamericans appear to have a much smaller degree of participation in farmers markets (and some would charge the whole localvore1 phenomenon as a whole) as compared to non-blacks in general and in particular to whites.  Several oft-quotes deductions point to lack of education on the part of Blackamericans regarding food:

“If people only knew where their food came from”.2

Continue reading “Problematizing Statistical Analysis of Blackamerican Participation in Farmers Markets”

Morality In Modern Times-Why Do Morals Still Matter?

The moral collapse we see around is can be daunting at times. This is made even more disenfranchising due to modernity’s inability to confront the golem of its handiwork: the abandonment of moral in virtue. What tool is there for modernity to tackle the consequences of moving “beyond,” to a post-tradition age? I dare say that if modern culture chooses to plunge over the cliff of post-tradition, it will only prove itself being further incapable of diagnosing let alone addressing the fallout from having no moral compass.

It is this area that I believe Muslims have something genuine to offer America: Offer, not supplant. These ideas and more are discussed in the following Chaplain Chat, the last for the Spring 2012 term at the University of Pennsylvania. It has been a real pleasure to have inherited such a great weight and responsibility from the likes of Adnan Zulfiqar and Carolyn Baugh. I pray that God will bless the further endeavors of the MSA and I am extremely grateful for the love and support of UPenn’s MSA, without whom I could not have attempted the task at hand.

Chaplain Chats – Intro to Reciting the Qur’an

The following are some loose notes from a talk I delivered at the University of Pennsylvania on March 12th, 2012, on the topic of qira’at al-Qur’an or the Recitations of the Qur’an. I will try to provide some succinct information on some of the terminology, also known as istilahat (اصطلاحات) as well as the various qurra’ (قراء) or reciters.

Listen to the audio from the Chaplain Chat here.

When we say there is a qira’ah of the Qur’an, what we mean is really three things:

  1. Qira’ah (قراءة): it is that which relates to one of the Ten Reciters, a qari’ (قاريء). These Ten are sometimes known as al-‘Ashr al-Ma’rifun (العشر المعرفون). For example, Imam ‘Asim and Imam Ibn Kathir are from this group. Each of the Seven Reciters (known for their chains of narration (sanad), which are mutawatir, had two students (the next group).
  2. Riwayah (رواية): it is that which relates to one of the narrators, a rawin (راو). These narrators took the recitation from the above group and dispersed it. Such examples might be Hafs ‘an ‘Asim or al-Susi ‘an Abi ‘Amru, with ‘Asim and Abu ‘Amru being the teachers of Imam Hafs and Imam al-Susi respectively. Think of it as student ‘an teacher (lit., Hafs the student of ‘Asim, Qunbul the student of Ibn Kathir, etc.) (الطالب عن شيخه).
  3. Tariq (طريق): these are in a sense the students of the rawaya (روايا أو راويون) or narrators. An example of this might be a mushaf (physical copy of the Qur’an) which has the title of Qunbul  ‘an Ibn Kathir min Tariq al-Shatibiyyah, or Qunbul, the student of Imam Ibn Kathir from the chain of al-Shatibiyyah. For time’s sake, we will not be delving into al-Azraq or al-Shatibiyyah but do know that there is this third component.

The Seven Mutawatir Reciters are:

  • Imam Nafi’: his two students were Warsh and Qalun. Therefore you have the recitation of Wash ‘an Nafi’ or Qalun ‘an Nafi’. Imam Nafi’ is from the Madinah school.
  • Imam Ibn Kathir: his two students were al-Bazzi and Qunbul (incidentally, these are sometimes also pronounced al-Buzzi and Qanbal). Their recitations are known as al-Bazzi ‘an Ibn Kathir and Qunbul ‘an Ibn Kathir. Ibn Kathir is from the Makkah school.
  • Imam Abu ‘Amru: his two students were al-Susi and al-Duri*. Their recitations are known as al-Susi ‘an Abi ‘Amru and al-Duri ‘an Abi ‘Amru. Abu ‘Amru is from the ‘Iraqi school (al-Kufah).
  • Imam Ibn ‘Amir: his two students were Hisham and Ibn Dhakwan. Their recitations are known as Hisham ‘an Ibn ‘Amir and Ibn Dhakwan ‘an Abi ‘Amir.
  • Imam ‘Asim: his two students were Hafs and Shu’bah. Their recitations are known as Hafs ‘an ‘Asim (the most commonly recited narration today) and Shu’bah ‘an ‘Asim. Imam ‘Asim is also from the Kufic school of ‘Iraq.
  • Imam Hamzah: his two students were Khalaf and Khallad. Their recitations are Khalaf ‘an Hamzah and Khallad ‘an Hamzah. Imam Hamzah is also from the Kufic ‘Iraqi school.
  • Imam al-Kisa’i: his two students were Abu al-Harith and al-Duri*. Their recitations are Abu al-Harith ‘an al-Kisa’i and al-Duri ‘an al-Kisa’i. Imam al-Kisa’i is also from the Kufic ‘Iraqi school.

* al-Duri is the only student to have taken narrations from two Master Reciters: Abu ‘Amru and al-Kisa’i.

The Three Mash’hur Reciters:

  • Abu Ja’far.
  • Ya’qub.
  • Khalaf.

Three major conditions for being classified as a qira’ah:

  1. Sound chain of narration: narrators were continuous, well known for their piety and were known to possess Sound memories. The recitation must also be dispersed by a large number of narrators after the Sahabah (this is the condition of mutawatir). Narrations which did not fit this stringent category were considered either mash’hur (as in the case of Abu Ja’far, etc.) or irregular (shaddh).
  2. The recitation had to match the grammatical rules and constructions of the Arabic language. This was acceptable even if they matched styles only found in the Jahiliyyah poetry (pre-Islamic poetry).
  3. The narration had to agree with the script of one of the copies of the Qur’an disseminated by Khalif ‘Uthman Ibn ‘Affan in the ‘Uthmani script (al-Rasm al-Uthmani/الرسم العثماي). This is why it is acceptable to have differences in the “dot placement” (تعلمون أو يعلمون) so long as the other conditions are met.

When time permits, I will try and upload more audio files of the various qira’at/riwayat of the Qur’an, in sha’Allah.

What’s the Purpose of Revelation and Prophethood?

The following are the notes and audio to a khutbah I delivered at the University of Pennsylvania on March 9th, 2012.

[audio:http://www.marcmanley.com/media/mp3s/khutbahs/2012-3-9-purpose-of-revelation.mp3|titles=Khutbah – What’s the Purpose of Revelation and Prophethood?|artists=Marc Manley]

What’s the purpose of Revelation? Of prophecy? Of the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم in our lives?

If the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم is Imam of the Messengers, then are we treating him as our Imam as well? Imam – the one who is in front and leading us.

Submission – it’s what we do for our own selves. Not whether or not others take us seriously.

وإذا رءاك الذين كفروا إن يتخذونك إلا هزؤا اَهذا الذى يذكر ءالهتكم وهم بذكر الرحمن هم كفرون

“When those who are kafir see you, they only make a mockery out of you: ‘Is this the one who makes mention of your gods?’ Yet they are kuffar about the mention of the All-Merciful.” [al-Anbiyā’ 21: 36]

Submission is an ongoing process.  In order to facilitate this, God has provided for us His Signs. We need only slow down to notice them:

خلق الإنسان من عجل – سأوريكم و ءايتى فلا تستعجلون

“Mankind was created hasty.  I shall show you My Signs so do hasten.” [al-Anbiyā’ 21: 37]

Don’t be hasty. Though we were created hasty, don’t be hasty. There’s a difference between how we are created and how Allah wants us to be.

If you allow it, the Qur’an will move you. It will lift your spirits, it will over-awe you, it will terrify you, it will move you to tears.

By coming to see this aspect of our relationship with Allah—The Big Picture—we foster a greater sense of realization [يقين-معرفة] of our purpose in life:

and …

الذين يذكرون الله قياما وقعودا وعلى جنوبهم ويتفكرون في خلق السموت والأرض ربنا ما خلقت هذا باطلا سبحانك فَقِنا عذاب النار

“Those who remember God standing, sitting and laying on their sides, and reflect on the creation of the heavens and the earth [utter], ‘O our Lord, You have not created all this in jest, how perfect You are, so protect us from the torment of the Fire.” [Āl-‘Imrān 3: 191]

عَنْ أَبِي هُرَيْرَةَ رَضِيَ اللَّهُ عَنْهُ قَالَ: قَالَ النَّبِيُّ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ :

“يَقُولُ اللَّهُ تَعَالَى: أَنَا عِنْدَ ظَنِّ عَبْدِي بِي، وَأَنَا مَعَهُ إِذَا ذَكَرَنِي، فَإِنْ ذَكَرَنِي فِي نَفْسِهِ، ذَكَرْتُهُ فِي نَفْسِي، وَإِنْ ذَكَرَنِي فِي مَلَإٍ، ذَكَرْتُهُ فِي مَلَإٍ خَيْرٌ مِنْهُمْ، وَإِنْ تَقَرَّبَ إِلَيَّ بِشِبْرٍ، تَقَرَّبْتُ إِلَيْهِ ذِرَاعًا، وَإِنْ تَقَرَّبَ إِلَيَّ ذِرَاعًا، تَقَرَّبْتُ إِلَيْهِ بَاعًا(1) وَإِنْ أَتَانِي يَمْشِي، أَتَيْتُهُ هَرْوَلَةً

We all know the hadith: The world [al-Dunya] is a prison for the believer and a paradise for the ingrate [kafir]/روى أبو هريرة أن النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم قال الدنيا سجن المؤمن وجنة الكافر. Most folks stop at this and say, “there’s nothing we can do or enjoy from this life.” But the nature of all prisons is that the prisoners want to break out; the nature of Paradise is that no one wants to leave. So, we strive to break out of this prison, not to sit glumly by while not being tricked into thinking we’re staying here in this fake paradise forever.

Islam in a Global Perspective: What Makes Islam Work?

The following is a lecture I gave at the University of Pennsylvania for UPenn’s MSA. This talk kicked off the Chaplain Chats for the Spring 2012 term.

For more on Islam and culture see my lecture Lecture on the Accommodation of Local Customs in Islamic Law at the Ella Collins 2012 Winter Retreat.