Muslim Development Course: Update

The Muslim Development Course has been rescheduled! It is due to start up again on April 4th.

The Muslim Development Course is the class I will be teaching that is part of the Quba Adult Learning Program entitled, al-Qāfilah: ‘The Knowledge Caravan’. The objective of this course is to encourage the development of Muslim thought, action, and behavior, both individual and social, in such a way that it reflects a deeper and more personal understanding, ownership, and embodiment of the divine principles found in the Qur’ān and the sunnah of the Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings upon him.

This course will examine the current conditions of Muslims – most immediately of those living in the Philadelphia area (though the principles may be applied to any) – with the aim of looking critically at our current condition and how we might apply the Qur’ān and Sunnah in our lives by actively engaging in its historical realities and processes. Such topics will include, but are not limited to: the life of the Prophet [s] – a.k.a., the sīrah up to the Treaty of Hudaybiyyah; the early Qur’ānic Revelation (Makkan period): the cultural context as well as its audience; pre-Islamic life in the Hijāz (the jāhiliyyah): what was pre-Islam Arabia like? How did pre-Islamic Arabs think?; the language of the Qur’ān: its history, its audience, its changes – how do we as an English speaking audience conceive of its meaning?; the socio-political order of Makkah and Madinah: what lessons are there for us today, both personal and collectively? Through engaging in a dialog with the collective of Muslim Revelation, history, thought, and language, we can better understand ourselves and, God willing, have a deeper commitment to the legacy of the Prophet Muhammad.

The class starts April 4th. Running time is from 10:00am until 12:30pm. The class will run for four Sundays: April 4th, 11th, 18th, and 25th. This session, the second session, will be held at Masjid Mujahideen, in West Philadelphia:


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The first cycle of this class was started on March 7th, and will is currently running until March 28th [taught by Imam Anas of the [Qubā’ Institute]. If you would like to sign up for this course, please contact the Qubā’ Institute as follows:

Phone: 215-473-8589. E-mail: adultprogram@qubainc.org. The course fee is $50 [this is less than $15 a day!]

Islamic Education – Not Just For Muslims Anymore [?]

I greatly enjoyed Dr. Sherman Jackson’s keynote address at the 2009 fundraiser for the Quba Institute. In it, he touched on some key, if not entirely new, points about the nature of education as it relates to Muslims. To a greater extent, his talk was focused at Blakcamerican Muslims and specifically the need for us to address the detriment or dystrophy of education in our ranks and religious proclivities. I have a number of thoughts regarding it as well as expounding on them, but that will have to wait for a few moments as I am in the thick of finals. In the meantime, a short article by Stephen Schwartz entitled, “What Johnny Needs to Learn about Islam”. It was published in the Weekly Standard [Volume 015, Issue 12]. The excerpt below followed by a link to the full article. Something to chew on.

“In the past, American textbooks were prone to two great pitfalls: Either they dealt with Islam superficially or they presented it in the manner preferred and promoted by well-funded defenders of Islamic extremism. A hallmark of that latter view is an emphasis on the unity of Islam, which is portrayed as simple, monolithic, and benign. The wide range of belief and practice between Sunni, Shia, and Sufi Islam, to name only the best-known variations, is downplayed, and the problems of Islam, especially violent jihad, are simply left out. Some of the current efforts at revising textbooks successfully avoid these mistakes.” Read the full article here.

Friday Prayer Service

Upon completing the khatīb certificate [the one who delivers the Friday sermon] under the tutelage of Mufti Anwar Muhaimin of the Quba Institute, I have been working as a khatīb here in the Philadelphia area, servicing various academic institutions such as the University of Pennsylvania and Jefferson University.

As of May 2008, I have been certified as a khatīb [the one who delivers the Friday sermon speech for congressional prayer], by Imam Anwar Muhaimin of Masjid Quba in Philadelphia. and have delivered khutbahs in the Philadelphia area. Sermons cover such topics as spirituality, ‘aqīdah, examples from the biography of the Prophet Muhammad [s] and the Qur’an, but above all, a reminder on how Muslims here in the American context can creatively respond to it, with advise to help us all conduct our lives here in congruence with what the society demands of us as well as keeping true to the transcendant values of Islam. One of the goals is to help create psychological spaces for American Muslims.

Trained in the Mālikī school of Muslim thought, I keep one foot in the guild of law, one on the path of spirituality. Below is a list of some of the khutbah topics with links to the notes. You can also follow them via subscribing to the podcast or the RSS feed. Notes and audio for the khutbahs are also available here. An updated copy of the khutbah and lecture schedule is here.

A Weekend With The Quba Institute – Khatiyb Training Course

The last several weeks have been tough ones for the Muslim community here in Philadelphia. With the embarrassing letdown of the bank robbery scandal, many Muslims have been left in a state of bewilderment, angst, anger and confusion. I cannot say that I am not myself afflicted with some of these feelings. But there is always a silver lining. I had the pleasure to spend my weekend with Imam Anwar Muhaimin, partaking in the khatiyb training course. Imam Anwar continues to amaze me as he slowly unfolds the vast array of knowledge he has at his disposal. And as a teacher, you could not have a finer instructor. In fact, I would highly recommend two things: 1) if anyone is involved in giving the khut’bah for the Friday Prayer, I highly recommend the course to both newbies and oldies. 2) A condensed class or halaqah be given, distilled down into a one- or two-hour lecture. It was highly informative and I think it would be good for even lay members and women [meaning those who won’t ever give a khut’bah], allowing people to have a greater depth and appreciation of the significance of the Friday Prayer.

And it is with appreciation and admiration I will continue with. I approached the class as one who used to give halaqas as well as a frequent public speaker. I [wrongly!] assumed it would have a similar feeling. Just get the vernacular down and I’d be on my way. I couldn’t have been more off course! In a beneficial but amusing way, at the end of the second day, all of us participants were given an opportunity to deliver a short, sample khut’bah that we had to write up. Being full of bravado I happily volunteered to go first. As soon as my foot hit the minbar though, a feeling came over me; something in between fear and awe. And this was with just ten people! Words that I’ve said a hundred times over in Arabic suddenly stumbled clumsily off my lips. My tongue felt like it swelled and I couldn’t think straight. My notes were right in front of me and I rushed through everything. My khut’bah was only six minutes but halfway through, I was sweating, as were many of the other participants. We all laughed at each other and had a great time. Imam Anwar in particular seemed amused as we all went up with one feeling and came down with another.

I won’t delve into particulars of what we talked about but some generalities were of course some usuwli points relating to the establishment of the Jumu’ah Prayer. What are its basic requirements and so forth. I leave out the particulars because I believe you should get these from someone like Imam Anwar – a trained and tested Imam. The Imam also provided us with guidelines with how to write and conduct our khut’bah as well as some historical facts surrounding the khut’bah and how the mimbar has been used in the past – both in positive and negative ways, to impart to us the great responsibility one has when delivering a khut’bah.

In the end, I can see that I have been given a new level of respect for anyone that gets up on the minbar. It is an intimidation and a great responsibility. It has also given me greater insight as to what should be coming from the mimbar – I have been critical of some folks in the past for things that have been said on the minbar, and I feel I can tailor those critiques now from a more experienced and balanced perspective.

May Allah reward Imam Anwar for taking his precious time to educate us and may He increase him in it. Amin.

My thanks to all who participated. It was great to have the feeling of suhbah [companionship] once again.

 

Allah grant us success.

P.S. – khatiyb sounds awfully close to khalifah. Do you think that I…