Islamic Center of Rolla Missouri (ICRM)
Third Issue: April 15th, 2016
MUSLIM LOBBY DAY CAIR- STL: MISSOURIANS STAND AGAINST HATE
SHEIKH Yusuf Estes in Rolla Mohammed pbuh Rahmah Mercy” for Mankind
During ICRM/American Red Cross Blood Donation Event
Chief Editor Mohammed A. Debree Editor Dr. Alsedik Abousif Contributing Editors Dr. Yaqoob Ali Dr. Alsedik Abousif Mohammed A. Debree Dr. Zeshan Hayder Amer Ali Faizan Syed Dr. Yusha Sager Dr. Noaman Kayani Mohammad Farhan Ahmed Revisers Dr. Yusha Sager Larry Stout Photography Faizan Syed Emad Abdurasul Marwan Hamed Amer Ali Dr. Noaman Kayani ISNA website
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Introduction and a Letter from Shura News & Activities of the community Sheikh Yusuf Estes in Rolla Interfaith dialouge at Missouri S&T
Candid conversation at ICRM blood drive event Muslim lobby day Stand Against Hate Justice must be dispensed equally
Jefferson City Muslim Community ISNA conference at St Louis, MO The Quran on the mountains
Introduction and a LETTER FROM SHURA G
reetings and As-Salaamu â€˜alaykum wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakaatuh ((May the peace, mercy, and blessings of Allah/God be with you) Welcome to the 3rd edition of the Islamic Center Rolla Missouri (ICRM) semiannual magazine, The Message. Rolla Muslim community continues to stay busy with its interfaith dialogue efforts to help promote understanding amongst different faiths and sustain a culture of peace in the greater Rolla region. To that affect, ICRM is planning its 4th open house on Saturday, April the 16th 2016. This is yet another effort to introduce the folks to Islamic center and its activities and what its members have to offer the local community. We like to extend the invitation to everyone to attend this well arranged and informative program in a warm friendly environment. Also the Muslim students and faculty representing the community participated in the annual interfaith dialogue on the university campus in February this year. On Tuesday, February 16, 2016, Muslims from all over the state of Missouri, in collaboration with the St. Louis chapter of the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR-ST. Louis), rally on the front steps of the Jefferson City Capitol Building to call on the state legislature to address growing Islamophobia and to welcome Syrian Refugees to Missouri. Weâ€™ve all witnessed the growing Anti-Islam and Muslim hysteria gripping this nation. This rhetoric has led to hundreds of hate crimes against American Muslims, including several in Missouri. The American Muslim community needs your support in order to combat this rhetoric that leads to violence and humiliation. Continuing with its community and social services, Islamic center with the cooperation and efforts of many of its volunteers, is excited to host two blood drives this semester. These blood drives are in collaboration with the American Red Cross and this edition of the magazine also highlights some of the details of the experience of Red Cross workers at ICRM. Going forward we hope to continue to serve the community and welcome your suggestions as we strive to do so. Our strength lies in our unity and putting into practice the lessons of Brotherhood and Sisterhood that we have been taught in Islam. May Allah help our Masjid and community and beyond.
Thanks for your cooperation.
Yaqoob Ali, MD Chairman, Shura Council
n the last couple monthes, the ICRM committee was working to provide a good spirtitual services for our fellow Muslims and a good collabration for the local community in Missouri. These are some news and activities during the last six months. One of our big projects that still going is ICRM kitchen update. That update will be from warming-type kitchen to cooking-type kitchen. The proposal was approved by the Shura committee of Islamic Center of Rolla Missouri. Also, The architectural design was prepared by J. Rogers architecture in St James and approved by the city of Rolla officials. The kitchen will be ready for Ramadan Iftar In sha Allah [if Allah wills]. Moreover, an open house and another blood drive were arranged to be at the time period of issuing this magazine.
BLOOD DRIVE SHEIKH YUSUF ESTES VISIT On the 23rd of November 2016, Muslim student association in Missouri University of science and technology and Islamic center of Rolla Missouri organized an open lecture by Sheikh Yusuf Estes titled as: “Muhammad [peace and blessing upon him] a mercy of mankind”. Sheikh Estes dilevred the Khutba sermon at ICRM and he had an interview with a local radio station. On the second day, ICRM organized a dawah workshop with Guide US TV, and finally Sheikh Estes left Rolla to St Louis were he deliverd a lecture there.
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The ICRM Muslim community generously donated their clothes to the women and children shelter in Rolla MO. More than 1 ton of clothes was send to women shelter after sorting, washing, perfuming, and backing these clothes in suitable boxes.
SHEIKH IBRAHIM ZIDAN VISIT: Shaikh Zidan visited the Islamic Center of Rolla Missouri, and that visit was on the 29th of November 2016. He lectured about the importance of neighborhood in Islam. Then the sheikh had Q/A session about general Islamic issues and fiqh from the audience.
CHILDREN INDOOR EDUCATIONAL SESSIONS: Indoor educational session was held in the ICRM during the intersession break. The children were educated about the basic knowledge and etiquettes of Islam. Moreover, the kids were so excited about the food and the indoor games under supervision a group of sisters who’s committed to continue to educate kids whenever they had a space of time.
NEW MUSLIM STUDENT’S ORIENTATION: New Muslim students arrival to Rolla, MO and general orientation about Muslim Student Association and Islamic Center of Rolla MO. Also, the new students had a Q and A session to the elder students about Rolla City and beyoud. Warm welcome introduction and conversation followed by a dinner and activities was organized by ICRM.
American Red Cross and Islamic Center of Rolla Missouri hosted the semi-annual Blood Drive on 2/12/2016. The doners had a worm welcome and then registered in the American Red Cross doner system. Also, a free lunch was served to the blood donors, visitors, and the American Red Cross crew.
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MUSLIM LOBBY DAY Cair-STL was organized a Muslim lobby day entitled as Missourians against hate on February 16, 2016. Missouri Muslims also talked to state legislature to address the growing trend of Islamophobia, and accepting the refugees in Missouri. Our deputation from Rolla Had a chance to talk with the county’s legislators and invited them to visit ICRM.
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ISNA CONFERENCE ISNA or Islamic Society of North America organized a conference at Marriot Hotel, St Louis, on the 26th of February, 2016. A lot of Muslims from Missouri including the city Rolla were attend the conference and stand firm to justice issues and a prophetic way of life that applied the moderation and rejects extremism. Exhibition, bazaar, and lunch were organized on the sidelines of the conference.
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Sheick Yusuf Estes ROLLA
By: Mohammed Debree
community of Rolla had a great opportunity to invite one of the most renowned Islamic scholars in North America and worldwide, Sheikh (a term for Islamic scholar) Yusuf Estes. Sheikh Yusuf accepted Islam in the early nineties and has worked hard to convey the message of Islam to Muslims and non-Muslims as well -- the message of the oneness of God. uslim
The program of his visit was very condensed, due to the sheikh’s limited time and his other scheduled programs. Our program started on Friday, October 23, 2015, with an interview on KTTR radio, on the Morning Mayor’s program with Bill Bates. The interview was informative about the meaning of Islam in general. By afternoon, for Friday prayer, the sheikh gave a sermon (Khutbah) about the importance for Muslims to convey the true message of Islam.
In the evening, Sheikh Yusuf gave an informative lecture on the topic of “Prophet Muhammed (Peace be upon Him): Mercy to Mankind”. The lecture was organized by the Muslim Student Association of Missouri University of Science and Technology. The sheikh gave a brief introduction about Islam and the word “Rahma”, which means “mercy” in Arabic, and how it comes originally from one of the names of Almighty God. Right after the lecture there was a Q&A session, then Sheikh Yusuf answered questions before going to the open dinner in the honor of Sheikh Yusuf at the Islamic Center of Rolla, where more discussions were opened. On the second day of the sheikh’s visit, there was a workshop at the Islamic Center about comparative religion, with the participation of Brother Tim, a new Muslim who accepted Islam a few months before.
All of Sheikh Yusuf’s activities were broadcast on Guide US TV, the first Islamic TV in North America. Also, the lecture and the other activities were published on the social media of the TV channel and the Sheikh’s personal social media. Guide US TV has a free application on Apple and Google stores, besides hundreds of web pages administrated by Sheikh Estes himself. The local media here in Rolla gave good attention to the sheikh’s visit. R. Hohenfeldt wrote in the Rolla Daily News about the lecture in an article published on November 26, 2016, under the title “Muslim speaker: Allah is merciful, no need for cross.“ The ICRM social media had a lot of comments about the visit and hoping to have such open dialogues as the only way to express the real values of Islam, despite what the mainstream try to generate, which is a distorted and inaccurate image of Muslims and Islam.
INTERFAITH DIALOGUE AT
n interfaith dialogue was arranged in the Heavener center of Missouri S&T on Friday, February 26, 2016, by the Campus Ministries Association. It was an excellent effort and provided an opportunity to discuss different aspects of one’s faith and listen to the experiences others have in their faith and what impact faith had on daily life. The discussion took place in a very candid and friendly environment. I participated with my wife, and both of us enjoyed every aspect of the dialogue: the gourmet food, the lively discussion, the frank environment, and the invaluable experience. The format of the dialogue was a roundtable meeting, different participants representing different religions/faiths, including Islam, Christianity, Judaism, Hinduism, Buddhism and others. At our table, my wife and I represented Islam, whereas other participants represented various denominations of Christianity, such as Mormons, Catholics, and Protestants. The discussion was facilitated by some prearranged stacks of questions that the participants had to draw randomly and answer. Questions were interesting and diverse. They included matters related to everyday life, and how has faith played a role in addressing some of life’s issues. Everyone shared his or her thoughts and life experiences. It provided an excellent opportunity to learn about other people’s faith and their personal experiences with faith. It helped to eliminate some stereotypes and misconceptions associated with other faiths. These misconceptions and stereotypes are usually a result of lack of knowledge, misunderstanding, poor communication, and dearth of interfaith dialogues. I noticed that people do not know much about each other’s beliefs and faiths, but they want to know. People were curious about Islam and were surprised to know that Muslims also believe in Jesus (PBUH) as one of the mightiest messengers of God, and they follow Muhammad (PBUH)? It gave us an opportunity to explain our faith and belief. We told them that Muslims believe in all the prophets and the books revealed to them by God. They also shared their views about Islam, and asked questions about Hijab, covering of whole body and face, praying while travelling, faith in the day of resurrection, concepts of heaven and hell, and divine forgiveness in Islam. This kind of dialogue promotes mutual understanding, respect, and harmony among different communities in a society. It helps to ameliorate negative stereotyping and fosters a sense of inclusion, openness, and neutrality. We appreciate the efforts of the Islamic Society of Rolla Missouri (ICRM) for encouraging us to participate in this dialogue, and we are thankful to the Campus Ministries Association for such a wonderful event. We also request and encourage Muslim community members to participate in these dialogues. Such events not only help us in appreciating the faith and perspectives of other members of society, but also in eradicating negative stereotypes and misconceptions about Islam.
By: Dr. Zeshan Hayder
Candid Conversation at ICRM BLOOD DRIVE EVENT We always welcome people to the Islamic Center (ICRM) with open arms. Our doors are open for everyone and anyone throughout the year. We always strive to have a dialogue with our fellow community members so that we get an opportunity to exchange our thoughts and ideas. I had one such opportunity to speak to some of our guests who had arrived at ICRM during the spring-2016 blood drive, one of our biannual blood drives that we organize with the help of the American Red Cross Society. A young lady, Kerry, who was waiting to get her vitals tested while we spoke, said it was her first time at the Islamic Center and like most people she got to know about this drive from the Red Cross society. I felt that most people around us are hesitant to visit or even ask what we do in the mosque. This hesitation and a widespread misconception about Muslim society led to me ask if she had any apprehensions coming in here to donate; she replied with a no. I also spoke to a very warm and jolly Dr. Max Tohline, a professor at Missouri S&T. He got his skin punctured quite a few times before they could get any blood out of him. Once he was done, we sat down with our lunch plates to have a conversation. Dr. Tohline, like many others was a fan of the food served at the Islamic Center during such events, which he did not shy away from mentioning and expressing throughout our conversation. “You have the best food, people don’t know how well you get fed here”, he said about the food. This was his second time at the Islamic Center donating blood, and he comes here, since it’s much closer than Fort Leonard Wood; he said he would feel much safer here than on a military base. Like many other people, he said he donates blood because it is the right thing to do; his father did it, and he has been doing for more than 10 years. When asked about the people here, he
said, “People here are pretty friendly, they said hi when I walked in here”. When asked if he knew about the Muslims and their practices, he talked about the emphasis on cleanliness in Islam, and then we shared with him some information about the obligatory ablution before prayers. When I asked him about the anti-Muslim rhetoric towards the whole community in the media, and his thoughts on that were that he is very intentional about refusing the negativity, and added that most Americans that don’t want to hate other people should try not to, because we are told to all the time, it’s pretty easy to hate these days and hard not to. When asked if he thought it was the Muslim community’s responsibility to reach out to people and clear the air about all the “Islamophobia”, he said, “ If you want an outreach that’s good, but I don’t think you need to prove to people that you are not the negative stereotype that other people think about; the stereotyping is not your fault, it’s someone other who has to be fixing it.” Finally I asked Dr. Tohline if he thought other people knew about the Islamic Center he Rolla, and to that he replied that people certainly knew that a mosque was being built when the construction began, and so in that way they might be aware, and finally added that the best thing that people can do is come here. One of the nurses, Lavanda, who visited the Islamic Center for the first time, thought out community here was very nice, and working here was very interesting because most people were international students and they have some difficulties understanding; she said people here were very friendly and the hospitality was great, and she enjoyed it. When I asked what she really liked, she promptly replied, that, other than the food, she liked that even though we were different we respect and love each other here, unlike some other places where they feel prejudice for not being from there, here people just show love.
Another nurse, Mary Joe Eeds, who was here for the third time, said she loves coming here and thinks the people here are great; she added that everything here is unique, and when she wants to know about our culture, she gets answers to all her questions. She said she loves the amazing food here, dishes she never had before; she said she would love to come back again, because she enjoys her time here. She said that our community here is very friendly and respectful, and that no one should judge people by their appearance. This interview gave me an insight about what and how people think of our community here in Rolla, and the Muslim community in general. One thing was crystal clear to me: that every soul that has ever had food here has loved it and would not be shy in expressing their love for it. It also became clear to me that people here would rather come in and form their own opinion first-hand about our community, rather than just listen to what is on the news and pre-judge from that.
MUSLIM LOBBY DAY “STAND AGAINST HATE” of their busy schedule and joined us for this historic day.”
On Tuesday, February 16th, over 200 Missouri Muslims and peoples of many other faiths visited the State Capitol in Jefferson City in order to build relationships with elected officials, discuss issues of concern, ensure that Missouri welcomes Syrian refugees, and build bridges of friendship and understanding. This was the third annual Muslim Lobby Day organized by the St. Louis chapter of the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR-STL). This year, a proposed constitutional amendment had been introduced which would bar “Sharia,” Islamic Religious practice in the State of Missouri and would build internment-like camps to house Syrian refugees. This was the fourth year that antireligion bills that expressly targeted the Muslim community were introduced into the State Legislature. If passed, they would have fed the growing Islamophobic trend in this nation. “We believe that we, as people of conscience, have a civic and moral duty to speak out against such adverse bills,” said Faizan Syed, Executive Director of CAIR-STL. “I’m so thankful to all the Missouri Muslims and our interfaith partners who took time out
During the Lobby Day buses left from Saint Louis and Kansas City with supporters. When they arrived at the State Capitol they held a rally on the front steps where the group chanted, “standing united against hate.” The rally was followed by afternoon Muslim prayers at the State Capitol, dozens of one on one meetings between local communities and their elected officials, a delicious lunch, and another rally. Then the group got back on their buses to leave. “We expect our state legislators to address the growing trend of Islamophobia by speaking out against it and voting against the anti-religious bills that have come up every year in Missouri,” Faizan Syed, Executive Director of CAIR-St. Louis said. Islamophobia doesn’t only effect the American Muslim community but all religious communities. “Today it’s Muslims, but what’s stopping people from saying the same thing about Jews, Hindu’s, or Atheists the next day,” Syed said. CAIR-STL encourages American Muslims to raise their voices in the halls of the State Legislature in order to create meaningful change. During the time of Prophet Muhammad (May Peace be Upon Him), he would send letters to the various rulers of the world and hold meetings with the leaders of various tribes. By participating in Missouri Muslim Lobby Day, you are helping to represent Islam and American Muslims to your elected officials. This year the sponsor of both the anti- religion bill and the anti-Syrian refugee
bill pulled both bills after meeting with the Muslim community. “It shows how important these one on one meetings are,” said Dr. Qazi, a participant in Lobby Day. “We met with the sponsor of these bills for roughly half an hour and within that time we believe we made a lot of headway. I’m glad we won’t be fighting these bills for the rest of the session.” CAIR is America’s largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. It’s mission is to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.
By: Faizan Syed
Executive Director of CAIR-STL
JUSTICE MUST BE DISPENSED EQUALLY TO THE RICH AND THE POOR
“O you who have believed, be persistently standing firm in justice, witnesses for Allah , even if it be against yourselves or parents and relatives. Whether one is rich or poor, Allah is more worthy of both. So follow not [personal] inclination, lest you not be just. And if you distort [your testimony] or refuse [to give it], then indeed Allah is ever, with what you do, Acquainted.” QURAN 4:135
he Prophet Muhammad (may peace be upon him) said: “The people before you were destroyed because they inflicted legal punishments on the poor and forgave the rich.” (Sahih Al-Bukhari 8:778) This hadith is particularly important in the United States today where over 2.2 million people are held in prison (almost as many as in Russia and China combined). It has become almost impossible for poor people to receive justice, while rich people who commit heinous crimes go free. Rick Snyder, the governor of Michigan, was responsible for poisoning the public water supply for the City of Flint. Because of him, many children will grow up brain-damaged with severe developmental and behavioral problems. Governor Snyder has not been charged with a crime. Don Blankenship, former CEO of Massey Energy was responsible for the 2010 mine explosion that killed 29 miners. He has been convicted of misdemeanor conspiracy to avoid mine safety laws and will serve at most one year in jail. Meanwhile, poor people will have to serve long sentences for victimless crimes, or spend months or years in jail because they cannot afford to pay bail, or court costs. It was injustices like these, as well as the police killing of Michael Brown, that led to the recent protest demonstrations in Ferguson, Missouri. In another hadith, the Prophet (may peace be upon him) makes it clear that he speaks of nations as well as individuals. “O people! The nations before you went astray because if a noble person committed theft, they used to leave him, but if a weak person among them committed theft, they used to inflict the legal punishment on him.” (Sahih Al-Bukhari 8:779) The Prophet (may peace be upon him) demanded that justice be dispensed equally whether the miscreant was rich or poor - and further prophesied that nations that fail to dispense justice equitably will be destroyed. He even said that were his own daughter to steal, he would sentence her acccording to the Law. Muslims and non-Muslims together, we must work to reform our system of justice, before it is too late.
By:Dr. Yusha Sager
Jefferson City Muslim Community J
efferson City Muslim community (JCMC) is the smallest of the three sister Muslim communities in Mid-Missouri. It consists mainly of state employees and state contractors. The largest Muslim community in Mid-Missouri is the Islamic Center of Central Missouri (ICCM), located in Columbia. This community has a great mix of students, medical professionals, auto industry workers and others. The third one is the Islamic Center of Rolla Missouri (ICRM). This community is comprised mostly of students studying at Missouri University of Science and Technology (Missouri S&T).
The JCMC has stood at about 25-30 Muslim families strong over the last couple of decades. Besides being from the United States, these families originated from many different parts of the world including Jordan, Morocco, Sierra Leone, Tanzania, Ghana,
Nigeria, Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, Libya, Sudan, Lebanon, Palestine, Egypt, Tunis, Italy, Canada and Indonesia.
As far as we know, in 1991 JCMC used to rent a room for an hour every week for the Friday prayer. Often, due to the unavailability of a room, Jumuâ€™ah prayer was held out in the cold with snow all around. Because of this hardship, the community decided to rent a place on a yearly basis. Around 2001-02 the community started renting a small place on Brook Street. That was the first established mosque in Jefferson City. We have always had a desire to have our own permanent Masjid in Jefferson City - either to build one or else to buy an old church. With this in mind, several fundraising events were held. We gathered some money but it was not enough. One of our members
offered to loan the community some money to buy land on which to build a Masjid. In 2003 a 5 acre tract of land was purchased. This is the current location of the JCMC). Then another phase of fundraising began. For this purpose we traveled in all different directions, both within Missouri and out of state. Trips were made as far south as Dallas, Texas and as far north as Springfield, Illinois. We reached out to several Masjids in St. Louis, Kansas City, Rolla, and Joplin. We made several trips to the Columbia Masjid. One of our brothers was in Cedar Rapid, Iowa. He stood up after the prayer asking for donations for our Masjid. One family pledged to give all the carpet we need for our Masjid (May Allah reward that family). We have been enjoying this nice green carpet for the last eight years and still enjoy it.
In 2006, we started making plans to build the Jefferson City Masjid. We approached a Muslim architect from Manhattan, Kansas. He gave us a rendering of what our new building should look like. Then we hired a local architect who came up with the blueprints. While we were discussing these plans and talking to different general contractors, our brother, Ali Hussain, contacted us. He said, “I heard you are trying to build a Mosque and I can help. I live in Jefferson City. I am a civil engineer and just finished building my house by hiring subcontractors only.” May Allah reward our brother who helped us build our Masjid for only about $380,000. This property is appraised at around $600,000. Our Islamic Center can hold 300 people and consists of a main prayer hall, a private sisters’ prayer hall, a multipurpose gathering area and an office. Jumu’ah (Friday) prayers are held at 1:15 p.m. Eid prayers and special events are also held at JCMC.
Mid-Missouri Cemetery Adjacent to this building we have a Muslim burial ground, Islamic Cemetery of Mid Missouri (ICMM) with a capacity of about 260 graves. To date 22 brothers and sisters have preceded us in the journey to the afterlife. This is a joint venture of the three Mid Missouri Muslim communities: JCMC, ICCM, and ICRM. The cemetery’s sole purpose is to facilitate the burial needs of these Muslim communities and to provide Islamic religious practices for the benefit of Muslim brothers and sisters
residing in Mid-Missouri. ICMM is a purely apolitical, not-for-profit Islamic organization, inter alia providing religious offerings such as burial grounds and facilities as per Islamic tradition. In discharging these volunteer services, the members of the Cemetery Board endeavor to exercise utmost sensitivity and diligence in fulfilling these duties to the best of their ability and in the interest and welfare of the community members in compliance with Islamic traditions and hadith. ICMM expresses its sincere appreciation for the spontaneous support and cooperation of numerous members of the community. The Jefferson City Muslim Community (JCMC) is an Islamic center serving as a masjid and a gathering place for the Muslim community in Jefferson City, Missouri and the larger Cole County-area. The mosque is the centerpiece of a thriving and well-rooted community that was established in 1991. Our major educational services are Sunday school classes for children and adults. These classes teach the Qur’an and Arabic. Social services include zakat and sadiqi (alms and charity) distribution. We hold open house one or more times per year.
What neighbors have said about JCMC
Whereas plans to build a Mosque in downtown New York City engendered intense public debate, in rural conservative Central Missouri neighbors say they welcome a mosque in their backyard. Becky May [One neighbor] in Jefferson City, says she accepts the expansion of a Mosque in their area, regardless what the media says. Harry Kennedy [Another neighbor] has lived next to the Jefferson City Mosque since it was relocated. He says the media exaggerates tension between Muslims and non-Muslims, especially after the controversial plans to build a Mosque in lower Manhattan. “It’s always got to be a divisive issue. It’s black against white; it’s in this case Muslims against non-Muslims. It’s never here’s the facts and you make up your own mind.” Kennedy [He] feels there are no negative feelings toward the expansion of the mosque in this area. Barry Faulkner,[A third] neighbor of the mosque who attended its open house earlier this month says he walked away with a better understanding of the Islamic religion.
By: Dr. Noaman Kayani
The Jefferson City Muslim Community is blessed with the knowledge and guidance of several local leaders as well as the services of countless volunteers, including the Board of Directors, and the Executive Committee.
11THE . MESSAGE
ISNA CONFERENCE AT ST LOUIS, MO; “New Arrival Muslm Student Experience” The day I saw the poster announcing the ISNA Annual Conference, I was sure that I would attend the event. With the good intentions and consent of the ICRM president, a few of our brothers at ICRM and I went to this conference, and we arrived there by 10:00 AM. It was something different, seeing so many Muslims at one place. The ISNA members welcomed all of us and gave us ID cards with our names. Then we moved on to the Marriott convention hall, where Imam Siraj Wahhaj spoke on “Creating a Just Society”. He highlighted some important aspects of how a individual person can do his part in creating a just society. He advised us to read the instructive and useful biography of Malcom X. The next speaker was Mrs. Linda Sarsour, who lectured on “Mercy as a Tool for Uniting Communities”. She said that, although there is much talk about uniting the Muslim Ummah, within our communities we find a great deal of inequity, obdurateness, cliquish behaviour, and even prejudice. In order to unite our individual communities, she said, we must implement a true understanding of the Prophetic tradition of compassion, respect, and mercy towards one another. She emphasized the importance of epitomizing the Prophetic tradition in our lives and at Masjid. She concluded her lecture with a very important point that deserves our serious consideration: that we adults don’t feel comfortable bringing our kids to Masjid, because we think they will disturb us while
praying, but we expect these children to start praying regularly when they grow up. A following lecture, “Role of Masjid in Promoting Social Justice”, was delivered by Mr. Djilali Kacem, standing in for Imam Siraj Wahhaj. His enthusiastic explanation of this role left the audience feeling uplifted. His speech focused on how the Masjid can play a crucial role in promoting social justice. He told a little story about Imam Siraj Wahhaj that moved the audience emotionally, and surely increased their respect for the Imam. The story goes like this: Imam Siraj Wahhaj was a local Imam at a mosque in Brooklyn. A building owned by a Muslim brother in Brooklyn unfortunately was taken over forcibly by some drug dealers, but when he complained to police they didn’t react effectively. He had no idea what to do but to abandon his property, but one of his friends advised him to speak to the local Imam of a Masjid, which he did as a last resort, though he didn’t have much hope in that. When he later spoke with Imam Siraj Wahhaj, explaining his situation, the Imam said not to worry, that he will try to take care of it, and with the help his friends Imam Siraj Wahhaj
cleared not only the whole building, but also the entire area from the drug dealers. This was a great surprise to everyone, that a local Masjid’s Imam had accomplished such things where no others dared to interfere. Continue Next Page
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Afterward, many Muslims settled in that area, and now it is one of the highly populated Muslim areas in New York. What a great example of how a Masjid can play an important role in promoting social justice! He then described how a Friday Khutbah should be connected with day-to-day issues Muslims are facing, as this Khutbah itself can be. Azhar Azeez also gave a breathtaking speech on the role of the Masjid in promoting social justice. He explained this topic by relating it to the Prophet’s Life. He said that Prophet Muhammed (PBUH), for the first 13 years of his Prophethood, preached in Makkah, where he did not have a Masjid to unite and was able to convert just 10 people to the religion of Islam. But when he migrated to Madina (Yathrib), where he had a Masjid to pray and unite, he converted about 10,000 people
from different tribes to the religion of Islam in just seven years. This shows how a Masjid was able to make a big difference by the Will of Almighty Allah. This story emphasized this single point, that a Masjid can play a big role in this community. Then speaker Fatima Salman explained that the Masjid can be a place where we feed the poor for free. We also can have meetings with drug addicts to help them in overcoming their addictions, and in this way, she said, we also can spread Islam. The there was a break for Dhuhr Prayer and lunch. We had lunch and prayed Dhuhr in the Masjid in St. Louis, and then headed back to Rolla. On the whole, this event was very informative and beneficial. This event was not focused on things that happened in the times of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), bu instead was focussed on using that knowledge to benefit ourselves in this modern world.
By: Mohamad Farhan Ahmed
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THE QURAN ON MOUNTAINS: A book entitled Earth is a basic reference textbook in many universities around the world. One of its two authors is Professor Emeritus Frank Press. He was the Science Advisor to former US President Jimmy Carter, and for 12 years was the President of the National Academy of Sciences, Washington, DC. His book says that mountains have underlying roots.1 These roots are deeply embedded in the ground, thus, mountains have a shape like a stakes (see the figure). Figure 8: Schematic section. The mountains, like stakes (pegs), have deep roots embedded in the ground. (Anatomy of the Earth, Cailleux, p. 220.) This is how the Quran has described mountains. God has said in the Quran: “Have We not made the earth a resting place?, And the mountains as stakes?” (Quran, 78:6-7) Modern earth sciences have proven that mountains have deep roots under the surface of the ground and that these roots can reach several times their elevations above the surface of the ground.2 So the most suitable word to describe mountains on the basis of this information is the word ‘stake,’ since most of a properly set peg is hidden under the surface of the ground. The history of science tells us that the theory of mountains having deep roots was introduced only in the latter half of the nineteenth century.3 Mountains also play an important role in stabilizing the crust of the earth.4 They hinder the shaking of the earth. God has said in the Quran: “And He has cast into the earth firmly set mountains, lest it shift with you, and
[made] rivers and roads, that you may be guided,”. (Quran, 16:15) Likewise, the modern theory of plate tectonics holds that mountains work as stabilizers for the earth. This knowledge about the role of mountains as stabilizers for the earth has just begun to be understood in the framework of plate tectonics since the late 1960’s.5 Could anyone during the time of the Prophet Muhammad have known of the true shape of mountains? Could anyone imagine that the solid massive mountain which he sees before him actually extends deep into the earth and has a root, as scientists assert? A large number of books of geology, when discussing mountains, only describe that part which is above the surface of the earth. This is because these books were not written by specialists in geology. However, modern geology has confirmed the truth of the Quranic verses.
Footnotes: (1) Earth, Press and Siever, p. 435. Also see Earth Science, Tarbuck and Lutgens, p. 157. (2) The Geological Concept of Mountains in the Quran, El-Naggar, p. 5. (3) The Geological Concept of Mountains in the Quran, p. 5. (4) The Geological Concept of Mountains in the Quran, pp. 44-45. (5) The Geological Concept of Mountains in the Quran, p. 5.
SOURCE: A prief Illistrated Guide to Understanding Islam BY: I. A. Ibrahim (Editor).
MUSLIM LOBBY DAY, GROUP PICTURE AT THE CAPITOL
ISLAMIC AND GREGORIAN CALENDAR
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