( May God’s peace and blessings be upon you)
March -2017, Volume 3, Issue 3 ISSN 2377 - 9624 Publisher & Editor-in-Chief : Mohamed Haroon Sait Editor : Nabeel Sait Design & Layout : Mubin M.K All content Copyright ©2016 Muslim American, Inc. except where otherwise noted. Please contact the editor or publisher directly to obtain reprint permission and guidelines. Opinions expressed in this magazine are those of the advertisers or individual contributing writers and not necessarily those of the editor or publisher of this magazine. This magazine is published monthly. Article Submission : Editor@MuslimAmerican.com Advertising inquiries : Haroon@MuslimAmerican.com Muslim American 400 Arrowhead Dr East Charlotte, NC 28213
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Contents An Interview with Dr. Azim Beg..................................26,27
By the grace of Allah (Glory to Him, the Exalted) I am restarting this publication after a brief four month pause. During the last four months I was soul searching and weighing in the benefits of restarting this monthly magazine, cosnsidering the amount of time and effort it takes to produce it with quality that will make the readers look forward to this. The YES moment came in during the Christmas break in December last year when I was at the Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA) Southeast convention in Atlanta. There I met the South Carolina Sales Rep of Guidance Residential, Atabek Djumagulov. He explained to me how the magazine helped him in many ways including finding his new job with Guidance. He and his colleauges motivated me to consider restarting the magazine. Atabek even took the time to visit my office and discuss this further and encouraged me. Thanks to Atakeb, the magazine is now in your hands. I hope you will enjoy reading the magazine. I seek your advices and comments in order to improve the contents and presentation. If you have some insight on captivating readers or bringing together the communities of North and South Carolina, please feel free to write to me anytime. If you are part of a masjid or community in either NC or SC and would like us to cover an event please let me know. If you have writers in your community who would like to contribute articles, please let me know that as well. I pray to Allah that this magazine brings goodness to NC, SC and beyond.
Another Kind of Revert Story........................................20,21 Can Islam Recover American Values?..........................24,25 If I told You Today that I was a Messenger of God.....12,13 Monthly Event Summary - February 2017.........................10 Muslim Women Taking care of yourself........................08,09 My Journey to Islam........................................................14,15 Qur’an Stand for Your Beliefs.........................................16,18 Recipe.....................................................................................19 Stroke: A Major Cause of Disability and Death...........28,29 They Don’t Make Leaders Like him Anymore!............04,06 3
Mohamed Haroon Sait Publisher and Editor-in-Chief
Article Submissions,and General Communication, Please write to: Editor@MuslimAmerican.com Please visit MuslimAmerican.com to sign up for our E-Magazine.
They don’t make leaders like him anymore! Fahim Munshi The story is told of a woman who travelled a long distance from Iraq to meet the Khalifa of that time, ‘Umar bin ‘Abdul-Aziz. When she arrived at his abode, she inquired if there was a guard to prevent people from going inside to meet him. She was told, “No, you may go in if you wish.” On entering, the woman saw Fatimah, the wife of ‘Umar busy spinning some cotton. The woman offered her salutation to Fatimah who responded, “Welcome, dear sister, come inside and sit down.”
“...Umar began to cry, took out his inkstand and put his quill pen to paper...”
Soon Umar entered the house, gave greetings of peace to those present and asked his wife about the woman who was sitting with her. He took out a bunch of grapes, chose the best ones and gave them to his wife so that she could offer them to the visitor. ‘Umar then asked the visitor, “What is your need? Can I be of any help?” The woman was surprised by such courtesy and kindness displayed by Khalifa “Umar bin ‘Abdul Aziz. She said, “I am an inhabitant of the neighboring Iraq, and I have five daughters who cannot work and who have with them no material possessions. I have come to you in the hope that you will be more than willing to help them.” Hearing this, ‘Umar began to cry, took out his inkstand and put his quill pen to paper, writing a note to the governor of Iraq. He asked the woman the name of her eldest daughter and having learnt that he wrote down an amount that was to be given to her. Seeing this, the woman was overjoyed, praised Allah (The Exalted). ‘Umar then asked the woman the names of her second, third and fourth daughters. When the woman realized that ‘Umar had bestowed money upon all of her daughters, she was very happy and supplicated for Khalifa ‘Umar bin ‘Abdul-Aziz.
No sooner had the woman entered the leader’s abode, she started looking around and was surprised to find that there was nothing of value or significance in the house of the Leader of the land. Without realizing that she was speaking out loud, she said, “I came to build and furnish my house from this house which I have found to be devoid of luxuries and totally barren!” On hearing this Fatimah responded, “The emptiness and barrenness of this house allows for the construction and The woman left the Khalifa’s house with the note he had so caringly written adornment of houses such as yours.”
and handed over to her to be given to the governor of Iraq. After a long and tedious journey she reached Iraq and went to the governor to hand over Khalifa ‘Umar’s note to him. On receiving the note, the governor wept profusely, and while still sobbing said, “May Allah have mercy on the writer of this note and bless him with His choicest blessings.” The woman was taken aback, “What happened?” she inquired, “Is ‘Umar OK?” ‘Umar bin ‘Abdul-Aziz passed away” lamented the governor. Hearing the news of the Khalifa’s demise, the woman screamed, “Oh, no!” The governor consoled the woman and told her that she need not worry; he was going to honor the words of the noble ‘Umar bin ‘AbdulAziz since words of an honorable man cannot be ignored under any circumstances. So you see how noble leaders of earlier times were, and how ardently they cared for the welfare of the people they were chosen to lead. Fast forward to modern times–what a total contrast in the behavior of leaders of our times. Is there even an iota of goodness in the treatment the citizenry receive from individuals they appoint to lead them? This is not the case with any one nation but is a scenario the world over, no exception. Most of the leaders of earlier times were like a tree, even if people threw a stone to harm them, Continue reading on page 6..
So here I am, I relieve you of your pledge that you have taken for my allegiance. Elect whomsoever you find suitable as your Khalifa.” People shouted, “O ‘Umar, we have full faith in you and we want you and none other as our leader, as our khalifa.” ‘Umar continued, “O my people, obey me as long as I obey Allah; and if I disobey Allah, you are not dutyIt is stated that during the burial of bound to obey me.” ‘Umar bin ‘Abdul-Aziz, a small paper note came mysteriously swirling down from nowhere and fell on the fresh grave of ‘Umar bin ‘Abdul- Aziz. Those present at the funeral were amazed “...words of an honorable on reading the words inscribed on the man cannot be paper in shiny letters: “’Umar is a dweller ignored under any of paradise.” they dropped a fruit to benefit them. In contrast leaders of modern times are ignorant and self-centered, they generally have three major faults: selfconceit; much talk in that which does not concern them; and forbidding others from something that they themselves commit.
The Roman emperor on hearing about his death said, “A virtuous person has passed away…I am hardy surprised to see an ascetic who renounced the world and give himself to the prayers of God. But I am certainly surprised at a person who had all the pleasures of the world at his feet and yet he shut his eyes against them and lived a life of piety and renunciation.” The above anecdote you just read is about one exemplary good leader, ‘Umar bin Abdul- Aziz, the Fifth Rightly-Guided Khalifa who lived in the times gone by. How wonderful our world would be only if we had such great leaders like him today but alas! The stock of such noble leaders, unfortunately has long been depleted. ‘Umar bin Abdul-Aziz (son of Abdul Aziz bin Marwan, the Governor of Egypt and Umm-i- Aasim, the granddaughter of the renowned Umar ibn al-Khattab), ruled as a Khalifa for only 30 months but during this short period he changed the world. His tenure as a Khalifa is regarded as the brightest period in the 92-year history of Umayyad dynasty. On being nominated as the Khalifa, ‘Umar addressed the people from the pulpit saying, “O people, I have been nominated your Khalifa despite my unwillingness and without your consent.
‘Umar, the annual revenue from Persia alone increased from 28 million dirham to 124 million dirham.” There are a few rulers in the world who have left such a lasting impression in history for their simplicity, piety, kindness, compassion and justice. No wonder then that ‘Umar bin Abdul-Aziz tops this list. He has been considered one of the finest rulers in Islamic history. How disgustingly sad, they don’t make leaders like ‘Umar anymore! References:
1. ‘Ameer’s letter to the Governor’: “A Ruler Who Was Generous and Easily Accessible” – Gens & Jewels: Wise Sayings, Interesting Events and Moral ‘Umar was extremely pious and avoided Lessons from Islamic History by Abdulworldly luxuries. He always preferred Malik Mujahid simple living to extravagance, arrogance 2. Bio of Ameer: Umar bin Abdul or pride. He deposited all assets and Aziz– A Great Muslim Ruler by Abu wealth meant for the ruling Khalifa Tariq Hijazi in Arab News, English into the national treasury (Bait al-Maal). Language Daily - September, 7, 2012 He even abandoned the royal palace and instead preferred to live in a small modest house, wearing rough clothes in place of royal robes. He often went unrecognized in people just as his great grandfather, Umar ibn al- Khattab.
He never built a house of his own. It is recorded in Allama Suyuti’s Taarikh al Khulafaa that ‘Umar spent only two dirhams a day when he was a Khalifa. He received lesser emoluments than his subordinates. His private property yielded an income of 50, 000 dinars annually prior to his nomination as Khalifa but on being appointed to the post of Khalifa he returned all his properties to the Bait al-Maal and had his income reduced to just 200 dinars per annum. Its worth noting that this was all the wealth he owned when he was commanding the vast Khalifat that stretched from the borders of France in the West to the borders of China in the Far East. Ibn Kathir writes that “..thanks to the reforms undertaken by
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Taking care of yourself Rumana Bai We, women, are skilled at taking care of others. Caring, nurturing, showing tenderness, and expressing compassion are all excellent characteristics Allah has put into our hearts. Unfortunately, we are taught by our culture to use these attributes only on others but not on ourselves. Many times I have noticed in our community that women go through severe physical and mental exhaustion and breakdown due to not caring for themselves. These are a few misconceptions imprinted in their minds that I want to address:
“...if you don’t take care of yourself, you will be at some point not able to take care of others.” Self-care is Selfish With deeply rooted caring for family members, Muslim women fall into the trap of feeling guilty for any care for themselves. Whether it be a simple manicure or a spa treatment, socializing with friends or a yoga class, pursuing their passion or spending time on hobbies- allocating time for these interests is considered selfish. I want to emphasize that if you don’t take care of yourself, you will be at some point not able to take care of others. Without you knowing, physical exhaustion of doing mundane work or emotional breakdowns due to dissatisfactions affects your relationships with others. So get out of this mindset and start caring for yourself. You know you have to put the oxygen mask before you help others. 8
visits, medications and surgeries you have to make a choice now whether Often we spend so much time on worship, to spend more later or to spend a little religious matters, and community more now on quality food and exercise. service and we think that our physical appearance is of no significance. We No time assume that working on improving our physical appearance is less spiritual in Trust me, if you have time for Facebook, nature. Especially when we see how you have time for yourself. Or instead media puts in women a skewed image of chatting to your friend over the of their physical appearance we tend phone for an hour ask her to meet at to believe we should not buy into that. the park for a walk. There used to be a Rather, we have to seek balance here time many hours were gone by watching and take care of our body so we can TV but now it is mostly social media be attractable to our spouses and be taking our time. I used to think that I healthy and enjoy the life better. Also spend less time on social media. After it helps us to perform our duties in a I installed a software to track where I spend time I was shocked to learn that much better way. many 10 minute breaks I took browsing the social media added up to so many Lack of knowledge in health hours a week. So take an inventory of Our body is a trust from Allah, and where you spend time and see if you we can’t choose to neglect it. We have can make some time for self-care. Also to seek the knowledge on how we can women these days juggle with career keep ourselves healthy. We should not and parental responsibilities and in that fall into commercials and corporation process put self-care off. Consider meal gimmicks. Just because the aisles of prep in the weekends so you don’t end supermarkets have neatly packaged up eating from outside in the weekdays. foods does not mean they are safe to be Also it means more relaxing weekday eaten. Living a natural lifestyle with an evenings. emphasis on organic whole foods and good quality poultry and meat will make No support from family a huge difference. Avoiding processed and packaged foods will make your We think our family members may not agree with these healthy changes. weight loss and healing effortless. Consider talking to them and you might be surprised that they are ready to listen It costs too much to be healthy and change. The only reason they had We think buying organic is expensive resistance in the past could be because and joining an exercise program is you never asked. If they don’t agree absurd. With traditional grocery stores with you, make small changes. Take now understanding and trying to get baby steps and know that it is not about into the organic market, we can get perfection but progression. Over time cheaper healthier options with some they understand and appreciate what shopping research. Considering the you are doing for yourself and for them. money that will be spent on doctor What matters is our inside only
to undermine the duties of women. The we do out of our love for Allah “...The things we do out things and our family members are worth the of our love for Allah and effort. If God wills, the rewards of are beyond words can describe and our family members are that what we can imagine. Also taking care worth the effort.” of yourself by just buying new clothes, shoes and makeup is not what I mean by self-care. We should go beyond that with proper diet and exercise. We Role Models for our children should also look into areas like career Marriage is a beautiful thing we have in satisfaction, our relationships and our religion and community but haven’t spirituality. you noticed that our youth are now trying to delay it for the reason that So…. they want to enjoy their life? Two of my If you are too busy, slow down non-Muslim friends who have 2-3 jobs and work so hard had told me that their If you are not physically active, start a children did not want to marry as they body moving activity felt like once married they will have to get selfless like their parents. If we take If you are staying home all the time, care of ourselves, slow down and take find a halaqa (study circle) and socialize the downtime when needed, we teach our kids that marriage does not stop If you are eating unhealthy, straighten out your diet them from enjoying life. By emphasizing self-care I do not mean I could go on and on but I think you get the idea now. We have to find a right
balance and do the things our body and mind needs from us so we can do our part in the long run Allah has asked us to do.
Rumana Bai lives with her husband and two children in Charlotte, NC. She has a passion for nutrition and healthy living and is currently a student at Institute of Integrative Nutrition. You can read her articles at www. rootmountain.com and follow her on Instagram @rootmountaincom to get daily tidbits on healthy lifestyle.
Monthly Event Summary - February 2017
Photo by Nabeel Sait of Muslim American
Charlotte Mayor Jennifer Roberts poses with the multicultural citizens of Charlotte prior to speaking at the interfaith rally held at Romare Bearden Park in downtown Charlotte on February 2nd.
Photo Courtesy of Hanifa Shaikh
This photo was taken at an event at downtown Charlotte during World Hijab Day on February 1st. The image was taken while Victoria Abdelfattah spoke to the gathering of people, thanking them for their support.
Photo by Nabeel Sait of Muslim American
Muslims, joined by some non-Muslims, stand behind Imam Khalil Akbar during prayer. Attendees encircle the congregation similar to the events in JFK Airport, NY during the day the executive order to bar immigration was enacted.
Photo by Nabeel Sait of Muslim American
Charlotte Mayor Jennifer Roberts speaks to the attendees of the rally while numerous faith leaders and public officials stand behind in support of her message. During the speeches, children held signs speaking against the immigration restrictions that were blocked by federal judges earlier that week.
Would you like us to publish pictures from the events at your Islamic Center / Masjid ? Write to Editor@MuslimAmerican.com Photo by Victoria Abdelfattah
This picture was taken during the â€œDay without Immigrantsâ€? protest held in downtown Charlotte on February 16th.
Monthly Islamic Puzzle: March 2017 Crossword Across 2. The color of the stone on the Kaâ€™bah 4. It is sunnah to break your fasting with this 5. The number of times you must walk around the kaâ€™bah during tawaf 7. Pilgrimage done by Muslims 8. At what age was the first revelation sent down to Prohpet Muhammad (pbuh) 9. The Arabic word for celebration; it is also the common term for the Muslim holiday
1 2 3 4 5
8 Down 1. In what month do Muslims fast 3. The city in which Muhammad (pbuh) was born 6. The city in which Prophet Yousef was 9 imprisoned 8. How many mandatory prayers do Muslims observe daily
FIND 6 Differences
For answers, refer to page 29
If I told You Today that I was a Messenger of God Imam Eesaa Wood
If I told you today that I was a Messenger of God...it’s understandable that your knee-jerk reaction might be to object to my claim or at least you might want to see some proof. Our Prophet Muhammad (May God exalt his mention) was in no different of a situation and thus we also today face this dilemma when trying to convince others. This brief article is intended to equip you with some rational and logical reasons to assert that the Holy Prophet Muhammad was indeed a God-fearing, sane and honest Messenger of God. When Muhammad (p.b.u.h), at the ripe age of 40 came to his people and proclaimed, “Indeed, I am a Messenger of God sent to you”, most of his people rejected his claim. Their reasons are not unlike the objections given today. They fall into the following broad categories (All of which the Quran denies):
(A.S.) was shocking and frightening. It’s no doubt that any of us in his position, suddenly and unexpectedly being visited by an Angel of God alone in a cave at night, would be no less surprised and confused. One only needs look at the frightening experience of the great prophet Moses (A.S.) when God communicated to him at the burning bush (Exodus 3:6-4:13-14, Quran 28:31). So, it’s neither unreasonable nor unprecedented to be shocked by such an experience. But still, how do we know for sure this person was being led by God and not the enemy of God?
Satan: He is arrogant and no a believer (Quran 2:34), a clear and open enemy to you (the reader) so don’t follow his way (2:168), seeking to mislead man from God and eventually into hell (a place the Qur’an clearly states that he will be after Judgment day) (Quran 4:119 and 14:22). With all that being said, it’s hard to believe at this point that Satan is working in his own best interest by inspiring a man in this way. I think the bible says it best in the Book of Matthew 12:26, “If Satan casts out Satan, he is divided against himself; how then will his kingdom stand?”
“...Muhammad neither came from a family of people prone to mental disturbance nor was an illness attributed to him...”
New American Standard Bible. So let’s cross demonic possession off our list shall we?
1. He’s possessed! (Quran 81:25) 2. He’s insane! (Quran 68:2) 3. He’s a liar! (Quran 46:8 and 25:4-6) 4. And others would say, OK, show us some proof! After all it’s a pretty tall claim. (Quran 29:50) So let’s deal with each of these in order. The claim that Muhammad was possessed by a demonic entity (i.e. Satan) stems from the fact that his initial experience of receiving revelation in the cave of the mountain of light (Mount Hira) from the Arch-Angel Gabriel 12
The noble prophet Muhammad (p.b.u.h) is usually credited with authorship of The Qur’an by non-Muslim scholars of history. So let’s examine a few general facts about this book that don’t revolve around faith claims. All Muslims know that you don’t ever read a single letter of the Qur’an without first clearly stating aloud, “I seek refuge with God from Satan the Accursed”. If one only takes a concordance approach to reading the Qur’an by simply looking up all the locations in the it where Satan is mentioned, one will generally discover the following attributes of
Critics say that perhaps his claim to divine messengership was a delusion brought on by some mental issues. Firstly, let’s assert a few basic facts about human beings that suffer from diseases of the mind. Number one, they have tremendous difficulty successfully interacting with their peers in social settings. Two, they often posses amazing skills in specialized areas (like piano), but often lack general competence in most normal areas of human life (bathing or holding down a consistent job). Lastly, mental illness often times is hereditary and will begin to clearly manifest itself in early adult life. While all three might not manifest in ones lifetime; it’s important to understand that the type of illness they claim he had (i.e Hearing voices and believing them) would not have mild symptoms by any stretch of the imagination.
As far as the early life of Muhammad, prior to the claim of divine messenger ship, both orientalists and Muslim historians are in agreement that Muhammad neither came from a family of people prone to mental disturbance nor was an illness attributed to him in his life before his call to Islam at age 40. Muhammad was so esteemed by his people that they would ask him to arbitrate their most difficult social matters (ex. rebuilding of the Ka’baa at age 35). He even successfully garnered the hand of one of the most prized women in all of Makah our spiritual mother Khadijah (He also successfully ran her merchant business for 15 years!). Even after his call to Islam the sheer amount of accomplishments and accolades only increased until he was the first leader of the entire Arabian Peninsula, a renowned teacher and the superlative husband and father according to the testimony of his most intimate disciples and companions. We will end with a quote by a nonMuslim historian, De Lamartine, and then honestly ask ourselves what other mentally ill or delusional people in history have ever accomplished so much?
“Philosopher, orator, apostle, legislator, warrior, conqueror of ideas, restorer of a rational dogma for a cult without imagery, founder of twenty earthly empires and of one spiritual empire, this is Muhammad. Of all the scales by which one measures human grandeur, which man has been greater…” (Extract from Alphonse de Lamartine’s Histoire de la Turquie Paris, 1854, vol. II, pp. 276-277) Notice how the use of the word “cult” implies his own rejection of Islam, but none the less he praises the Prophet, Subhan’Allah! The most widely accepted accusation by his detractors was and still is today that he was dishonest about his claims. Dishonesty amongst men can stem from egotistical base desires for wealth, power, position, and women. Sometimes it can manifest from 13
a desire to ward off harm as well. Yet despite the frequency of claims throughout history that Muhammad was a deceiver or in the words of the bible “a False Prophet”, dispelling this claim is as easy as looking at three very historic realities.
“His preaching of Islam eventually led to the loss of his wealth, condition, and standing in his home city.” By the ripe old age of 25 until at least the age of 40, Muhammad was known by the nickname “the honest and the trustworthy” (As-Sadiq-AlAmin) by his peers. The Quresh tribe that ran the affairs of Makkah would use Muhammad’s house as a safety deposit box for their valuables while on merchant trips to Syria and Yemen (this practice continued even after his claim to prophethood!). His preaching of Islam eventually led to the loss of his wealth, condition, and standing in his home city. It certainly didn’t ward off any harm from coming his way. At one point in this period of persecution, the Quresh offered to make him the wealthiest among them, give him their most beautiful women and finally make him their King if he would just stop preaching. He declined all of this, stating the even if they had the power to give him more than that it would not deter him from his mission.
In Sahih Bukhari, “The book of Eclipses” hadith #153 Narrated Al-Mughira bin Shu’ba (R.A.): “The sun eclipsed in the lifetime of God’s messenger on the day when (his son) Ibrahim died. So the people said that the sun had eclipsed because of the death of Ibrahim. God’s messenger said, “The sun and the moon do not eclipse because of the death or life (i.e. birth) of someone. When you see the eclipse pray and invoke God and hadith #154 Narrated ‘Aisha (R.A): “In the lifetime of God’s messenger (p.b.u.h) the sun eclipsed, so he led the people in (a long) prayer… (Then) He delivered the sermon and after praising and glorifying God he said, “The sun and the moon are two signs amongst the signs of God; they do not eclipse on the death or life of anyone. So when you see an eclipse, then call to mind God and say “God is the Greatest”, pray and give charity.”
Well there you have it folks, it is almost inconceivable that a demon possessed man would not have taken advantage of the coincidence of an eclipse on the same day as his sons death to proclaim his own greatness. It is even more unbelievable that a mentally ill man hearing voices would not have seen this as confirmation of his “prophethood”. Lastly, it is highly doubtful that a deceptive man would not have used this as a chance to reinforce his lies. So that brings us to the next logical conclusion, he must be God’s messenger. But, others may The most powerful and historic event still want to see some proof. We will in his life is really the final nail in the try to examine that proof next time, In coffin to all claims against his sincerity, sha’Allah. mental health and God-Consciousness. The following narrations are a statement from a companion and the wife of the Prophet. This story is mentioned so many times in and by so many different people that it reaches the level of Mutawatir or beyond doubt.
My Journey to Islam Victoria Abdelfattah
I was raised in a fairly religious Christian family. We went to church and every week and I was very involved in the church’s youth group. I loved learning the stories of the prophets, but for some reason I never thought of Jesus as the son of God.
God. This was very confusing because I knew I believed God and Jesus, but because they, and others, were very persistent about this I started doubting God’s existence.
emotions and moderate my behavior I spiraled downward. By June I was living a lifestyle very different than what I had imagined. I was also very good at hiding it from family and friends, allowing my behavior to spiral even more.
The more I doubted God the more I strayed from His path, and by the June 21st was the day before my 23rd Around late middle school my family end of college I was living a totally birthday. Within the week before my got very busy and we also experienced ‘stereotypical’ college life. Even as my birthday I had managed to do EACH of the 3 behaviors I had promised some personal/family issues, so we myself never to do. As I was talking to started going to church less regularly. By the time I was in high school we were “...I told God that I was my best friend on the phone that day I heard her disappointment. She didn’t barely going at all. The teenage years are really struggling and say anything, but I could hear it in her obviously not a good time to stop going asked him to give me voice. She was someone who had never to church, and as the years went on I judged me before and this really hit me strayed from God. Even throughout a sign to guide me to hard. I decided to truly pray for the all of this I never stopped believing Him.” first time. I told God that I was really in God or Jesus, but my behavior was struggling and asked him to give me a definitely influenced in ways that it sign to guide me to Him. probably wouldn’t have if I had stayed behavior strayed I had three specific active within the church. things that I was adamant about not The next day was Sunday, and also When I went to college I had a very doing, not because of God but because the day I met my now husband. We met online and decided to go out religious (Christian) roommate who of my own moral beliefs. that afternoon. Neither of us had any joined a Christian sorority. Whenever the topic of religion came up with them After graduation my best friend moved expectations for the date; he just didn’t they would all insist that if I didn’t across the country and many of my want me to be alone on my birthday. believe Jesus was the son of God I other friends moved out of town. In Within the first hour he told me that he didn’t believe in him at all, that if I didn’t February of 2014 I broke up with my liked me, but that we were even going to believe in Jesus I wasn’t Christian, and boyfriend of 4 years. Having no one consider dating I needed to understand if I wasn’t Christian I didn’t believe in nearby to help me work through these that he was a Muslim and explained 14
what this meant he would and wouldn’t do. I had never met a Muslim and was very surprised by his honesty, but didn’t mind any of it. That night when the date was over I went online to research basic information about Islam. I had absolutely NO intention converting, I simply wanted to know how his being Muslim would effect me if we ended up dating for any period of time. Within the first half hour I realized how similar Christianity and Islam were, and was very confused about how such seemingly small differences were causing major wars. This made me decide to look into it further. The more I looked into it the more intrigued I was by how similar the two religions were.
my husband. It was a wonderful khutbah and I related to it a lot more than many of the sermons I had heard. I enrolled in an online class about Islam. I decided if there was nothing I found problematic that I would convert. Within the next The next Monday (day 8) was the first week I completed the entire class and day of Ramadan. I decided to fast the finished reading the Quran. first day. Again, I still had no interest in converting; I just wanted to experience On July 19, less than a month after what he would be going through and being introduced to Islam, I took my what fasting was like. I was amazed by shahada. Islam aligned much more with how much of a spiritual experience it my beliefs than Christianity had and I was and ended up fasting the entire appreciated the lifestyle rules, making month. At this point I was about 1/3 my transition to Islam a fairly easy one. of the way through the Quran, and There were definitely difficult times, but hadn’t found anything that I either my belief I had made the right decision disagreed with or couldn’t believe. At helped me stay strong. this point I was beginning to consider converting, but decided I was going to read the rest of the Quran and find something I disagreed with, and if/ when this happened I wouldn’t consider converting anymore. how similar the two religions seemed. By the end of Surah al Baqara I was hooked. Every free chance I got I was either reading the Quran or researching different things about Islam.
Three days later, Wednesday, I asked for an English translation of the Quran. At this point I still had absolutely no interest in converting, I just loved researching things and was really interested in Friday (day 12) I went to Jummah with
Qur’an Stand for Your Beliefs Interview with Muhammad Naji Nabeel Sait Muhammad Naji is a full time employee working for American Islamic Outreach (AIO). He is the project manager for AIO events and projects. He also drives the Qur’an mobile from city to city in order to spread awareness of AIO and Islam. He has been the torchbearer for AIO’s daily activities and is constantly interacting with the general public through his work. One project, that has influenced many people, is the Qur’an stand. The stand is run by AIO, however, the literature comes from the Furqan Foundation. I sat down with him to ask questions about the direction of outreach and to address some of the responses that he has received from the “Volunteers can help in any event or Qur’an stands. project that AIO is doing. Our current volunteers have helped maintain When did AIO start the Qur’an stands, manage dawah tables and some stand project? even help at our Free Clinic. All of “The Qur’an stands started in June our volunteers have come away with 2016. Since then, 61 business have something positive and educational requested to put a stand in their store. while also helping our causes of There are also eight other stands located spreading goodness and Islam.” in masajid across the Carolinas. There What has been the response from the is a list of the business, which have the general public regarding the stands? Qur’an stands, on the American Islamic Outreach website.” “Most people are thrilled to see the stands and are excited to learn about Who maintains all the stands? Islam. When the stand runs out of “Myself and volunteers of AIO keep Qur’ans, we receive calls requesting to a box of literature in our car. Weekly, restock the stand. There has been about we drive by the locations of the stand four or five shahadas, that we know of, and restock as necessary. We are always done by business owners which were looking for more volunteers who can directly influenced by the the stands.” help with such a noble cause. It does What are the store owner’s not require any effort than to put the experience with having a stand in books on the shelf.” their store? What do AIO volunteers do?
“The store owners were mostly positive when I asked them about their
experience. There was an instance where a non-muslim man walked into the store and grabbed a translation from the stand. He sat down and read the Qur’an translation for an hour in the store before he went up to the owner and said, ‘This is the truth!’, pointing at the translation. There has been another occurrence where an inebriated man started ranting about the owner and his choice of keeping a stand in the store. There has been some negative interactions, however, these only support the need for more stands.” What kind of literature is offered on the stand? “There are brochures and translations available in Spanish and English. We are working to expand the number of languages we carry on the stand.” How has the stand influenced nonMuslims specifically? “Many people call in daily, from all over the US and outside, asking for information about Islam. There have been requests for shipment of literature for their study group or for personal reasons. There was once a man who picked up a translation from the stand, took it home and showed it to his girlfriend. She ordered a shipment of translations the next day to use in her Bible study group. There has also been requests from Ontario, Canada for literature after one of our translations reached our northern neighbor.” What are some goals that AIO has for 2017? Continue reading on page 18 ..
“We plan to install the Qur’an Stands all over North and South Carolina and beyond. This requires manpower, money and also passion about Islam. However, we believe, with the help of Allah, that we will meet and exceed our goals by the end of the year.” What are some challenges that you see ahead for this project or for AIO in general? “Currently, we are quite shorthanded when it comes to volunteers. We always look for inspiring individuals who can take charge and bolster our outreach initiatives with their passion. We are also in need of funds to support expensive projects like the Qur’an stand. Even if someone doesn’t have the time to volunteer with AIO, they can always make a huge difference by donating. No amount is too small in our eyes; we believe that every penny is a blessing and an encouragement to continue our good work.” How can Muslims help support the AIO with the stand?
“Patrons can sponsor the construction of one stand by donating 200 dollars to AIO. This money will be used to construct a stand and place it where it can benefit the most people. People can also request to have a stand put in their business to help spread awareness in their area. We are always looking for people who are interested in outreach and community projects. We hope this becomes a national initiative in the near future.”
BEEF FRY SOUTH INDIAN STYLE Thafseera Bai
(this recipe makes 6 servings ) Stew beef
- 2 pounds cubes
- 1 1/2 inch pc
- 6 to 7 cloves
- 3 to small
Red onion chopper
- 2 small or (1 large)
- 3/4 tsp
- 1 1/2 tbs (or to taste)
- 2 tsp
Garam masala powder - 1/2 tsp Cumin powder
- 1 tsp
Black pepper powder - 1 tsp Vinegar
- 3 tbs
Salt to taste Olive oil to half)
- 1/12 cup (divided in
Curry leaves (optional as garnish) 19
1. Mix all ingredients in food processor (except the curry leaves, stew beef and half the olive oil), to create an onionginger paste 2. Marinate beef with the paste and leave in fridge for an hour and half.
evaporate. Fry the meat in low flame. At this point, you may add the curry leaves to your preference, however, the curry leaves are more for presentation than for taste. Fry till the oil separates from the sides.
3. Put all the ingredients in a pressure cooker or pan and fry for 5 to 6 minutes in medium flame. Once the water starts to release from the meat, close the lid (or cover the pan), and cook for 10 minutes or 5 whistles 5. Enjoy! from the pressure cooker.
-If you are using a pressure cooker, cook the meat 85%. For recipes such as this and other If you are using stove top delicious dishes visit Muslim American Recipes or check out the cook the meat 90 %. 4. After the pressure releases from the cooker remove the lid and add the rest of the oil and let the water
next edition of the magazine.
Another Kind of Revert Story Tammy Little
“You need a religion,” my mother said. “It’ll give you direction, guidance.” And about five years ago, when she told me this, she was right. I became a Muslim, though I kept this information from her for a long time because I knew she wouldn’t understand. Then two years ago, we sat in her car in the driveway of my house one day. She said again, “You need religion.” And I was tired of hiding who I was. I said, “As a matter of fact, I have a religion. I’m a Muslim, and I’ve been one for two years now.”
I knew she’d never ask. The next time she brought up my religion, she said, “I spoke to a minister the other day about this, and she said that Muslim women just want to be controlled by men. Is this true?” I took a deep breath.
“No, that is not true at all. I wish you had asked me, or any Muslim “Bless the food before us, the family woman about this, and not gone to a beside us, and the love between us,” Methodist Minister, who obviously is misinformed.” She replied, “If you say “Hateful words reached so.” No more discussion.
I attended a family gathering on July 4th, and being that it was still Ramadan, I declined to eat until sundown. My mother demanded that I eat earlier, as not to “draw attention to myself.” I said, “But no one knows about this but me. What difference does it make if I eat sooner or not?” She reminded me that A few weeks later, she dropped by my I was not to bring up “that subject”, so house on Friday as we were getting I carried around a piece of bread so no ready to leave for Jummah prayers at the one would ask questions. masjid. Hijab in my hand, I said, “We’re leaving for prayer.” She said, “You’re One Friday as we were leaving for involved in a cult.” I said, “It’s not a prayer, we stopped for gas, when we cult. Would you like to go with us and saw a friend of the family. I was wearing see for yourself ?” She agreed. So I took hijab, and asked him not to mention my mother to the mosque. Everyone this to my parents. He said, “Oh no, I won’t say a thing. I respect people’s was respectful and polite to her. religions.” What I didn’t know was that On our way back home, she said “I felt he went straight to my father and told like a second-class citizen in there. Is everything. that was you want? To be treated like a second-class citizen?” Out of respect That night I got a phone call. “I told for my mother, I only replied, “I’m you not to cover your head in this sorry that you felt that way. Islam isn’t town. Any of our friends could see about that. If you had questions, you you.” Again, I simply said, “Yes,” as a could have asked someone there.” But respectful daughter should. Silence in the car. Seconds ticked by like hours. Then through gritted teeth she said, “I forbid you to tell a soul about this. You will humiliate our family. Do you understand me? No one.” Islam says I must respect my mother’s wishes, so I agreed.
Christmas-time rolled around, and my children and I were expected at a holiday gathering. My youngest daughter, age 9, asked to say a few words, though it wasn’t actually a prayer. It was just a saying she’d seen in a magazine and thought it appropriate for the occasion. No one seemed to be paying attention to her words, but she said them anyway:
their way to me, and worse, to my children.”
she said humbly. A nice thing to say in a family where there was supposed to be unconditional love. What I didn’t know – couldn’t have known – was that practically the whole small town already knew. The seeds of gossip had already been planted. Behind my back, like a malignant evil, word had begun to spread through my family about my faith. And none of it was good. Hateful words reached their way to me, and worse, to my children. “You’re a terrorist,” they said. What revert to Islam hasn’t been called that at least once? “You’re in Al-Qaeda,” I heard from a family member.
“You’re dating Arabs,” I heard, and though I pointed out that “Muslims don’t date,” the words had already fallen from her mouth, ignorant and hurtful. I was told I was going to Hell. At a family funeral, there was an apparent mix-up about a piece of music to be played, and afterward, I was accused of “having Muslim music” inserted into said funeral service. I was hurt beyond measure to find out that everyone blamed me, yet didn’t say anything to me about it, instead making me the scapegoat again. While I was just trying to raise my children, and live my own life, I heard that a few family members had refused to attend any future family get-togethers if my children and I were in attendance.
“Now is not the time for you to lie down and cry for our nation. Now is not the time for you to give up. Now is not the time to isolate yourself from everyone. We need you.”
from everyone. We need you. If we want to survive and help others, we’ve got to stay together. We have work to do in real life (globally and locally), not just on Twitter. Put your words into action. Volunteer. Showing the next generation what it means to be truly American means teaching them how to be kind and strong. It’s how we prevent something like this from happening again. Most importantly, don’t give in to negativity. Every time you think about quitting, they win. Do you think they should win? No? Good. United we stand – let’s get to work.”
My children and I are family, just Beautiful words to live by. Now go hug the way we’ve always been. There is a family member, in love. unconditional love here, the way it should be. And we have a family in Islam, that I am reminded of each and I was asked why men join ISIS (I don’t every time I bow down in prayer to know). They said that my children were God, who has been there for us when “brainwashed puppets.” (Is this any no one else has. way to treat children?) I was accused What a terrible way to live your life, of being a polygamist (even though I’m in fear. So many a single mother?). They said I “talked people in this funny now.” (because I can speak some country are afraid Urdu?). They said we ate “strange food” of what they don’t (because I can make cholle?) They said know. there were “terrorists in my home” (because a kind group of Muslim Last month I was men from the masjid helped us move in a restaurant and furniture into our new home, simply saw this written because they knew we needed help?). on a piece of paper taped to And through it all, I remained the the bathroom respectful daughter, and abided by my mirror. It didn’t mother’s wishes to “keep my religion s p e c i f i c a l l y to myself.” Each time I had to hide my address Islam hijab in my purse, only allowed to put it but the powerful on when I left town to go to prayer, it words resonated hurt worse. To be shunned and gossiped inside me: about behind my back, when everyone was too afraid to just simply ASK me “Now is not the about Islam, about the beautiful religion time for you to I was so happy to be a part of. lie down and cry for our nation. The final break came last November. Now is not the “We are a Christian family,” they said. time for you to “Only Christians are welcome here. Do give up. Now is you understand?” I did. I respected my not the time to family’s wishes and haven’t been back to isolate yourself my old hometown since. 21
Who Are the Muslim Americans? Duston Barto to about 16.2 million Muslim Americans as of January 2017.
A brief overview of the demographics of Muslim Americans currently living in the United States. Muslims entered the United States at various points throughout history. There are some pieces of archaeological evidence to indicate that Muslims crossed the Atlantic to explore and colonize the Americas centuries before the first English colony was established. Following this, Muslims were brought from Africa along with the slaves, they migrated from Eastern European countries, Asian nations and elsewhere throughout the last few centuries in various waves. Today, Muslims in America are an interwoven part of the American tapestry and Muslim American culture crosses every ethnic and social line. How Many Americans are Muslims? There have been many studies over the years to try and answer this question. Every study to assess what percentage of Americans are Muslim has its own flaws. Some studies only look at immigrant Muslim communities based on country of migration. These studies stereotype the Muslim American culture as being exclusively Arab and South Asian whereas there are many African American Muslims that get ignored along with the immigrants from Eastern European Muslim nations, Asian nations such as Indonesia and Malaysia. Other studies have looked at all MuslimMajority nations as an origin point but those studies miss a great deal of native born American Muslims and Muslims who immigrate from Muslim minority nations such as the Philippines, China, India, and others where the Muslim population is still large in numbers.
What is Muslim American Culture?
demographics. Estimations put Muslim American numbers anywhere between 3% of the population and 15% of the population. Anecdotally speaking, in the Charlotte, NC metro area (where Muslim American is based) we can see that 15,000 Muslims come together for Eid prayer. That alone is approximately .5% of the Charlotte Metro census area. To clarify, we know that there are many people who do not make it to the Charlotte Eid prayer since much of the census region is too far to drive, people have to work, some choose not to attend, etc. So it would be very safe to say that Muslims represent about 1% of our area population. In major cities like Chicago, we have found numbers of Muslims in the hundreds of thousands via voluntary census taken by mosques and Muslim organizations.
First and foremost, Muslim American culture is the culture of Islam. That is, there are sets of rules and guidelines on life that every Muslim must abide by in order to be a faithful and practicing Muslim. These rules and guidelines come directly from the Qur’an and the Hadith (hadith are the collected sayings and teachings of the Prophet Muhammad). Following that comes the interpretation of the guidelines by the school of thought a Muslim follows. While the overwhelming majority of Muslims are Sunni; even that breaks down into further methods. The majority of these differences of view between the schools of thought, however, have more to do with how a Muslim practices his or her worship and little to do with how he or she relates to society outside of the Muslim community.
The next layer would be a Muslim’s ethnic culture. This is most common among immigrants and their children, but grandchildren and greatgrandchildren shed most of these cultural practices from their ancestral origin and adopt the predominant What does all this mean? What aspects of American culture which do percentage of Americans are Muslims not conflict with the religion of Islam. then? Due to the conflicting methods of calculating who is Muslim and where the “...the African American counts come from; it is safe to assume community has a that the low-end 3% number espoused by those who look at immigrant numbers network of leadership is wrong. However, 15% is overblown and appears to have a and is often espoused with no solid evidence. Bearing all of this in mind, high level of comfort This is one time when the census, in it is safe to assume that roughly 5% of attempting to prevent discrimination, the American population is Muslim in with being both causes a problem with identifying some form or another. That equates American and Muslim.” 22
A more interesting case study would be to examine the culture of African American Muslims as the community has evolved through the religion over the last century. African American communities embraced concepts of Islam through movements created by Noble Drew Ali which began as the Moorish Science Temple, then evolved into the Nation of Islam. After nearly 100 years of practicing these pseudo-Islamic movements; the African American community was led into Sunni Islam by Imam Warith Deen Muhammad. This century and a half of evolution from the time of Noble Drew Ali until the present day; has embedded the principles of Islam into the African American culture and has allowed a very organic form of Muslim American cultural identity to rise. While White Americans who convert to Islam are still very much struggling with their cultural identity, the African American community has a network of leadership and appears to have a high level of comfort with being both American and Muslim. White American Muslims are not a new concept. The first recorded white convert to Islam was Alexander Russell Webb in 1888. He went on to write a Muslim news paper in the New York City area and established the first mosque in Manhattan before passing away in 1916. From that point until now we have seen many White Americans coming to Islam and attempting to make sense of the balance between Islam and American identity. Most White American Muslims who found Islam via intellectual pursuit have found little difficulty in choosing to either embrace Islamic identity as their local community reflects it, or to reject all cultural trappings (dress, custom, etc) in favor of American identity while adopting the principles of Islamic worship. Native American Muslims have a different approach, many Native Americans who become Muslims have found that the guiding principles of Islam are so highly compatible 23
communities tend to only provide services in the native language of the community they serve and only evolve out of this as the community grows and the majority of the people adopt English as their primary language. This phenomenon is not unique among with the core philosophies of their Muslims, but is echoed among many individual tribal customs that few immigrant communities. find the need to shed much of their culture as they increase the worship Are American Muslim Women in Islam. Obviously certain attributes Oppressed? of religious aspects of tribal custom It is remarkable that only days after would have to go away as they abandon Linda Sarsour spoke loudly and clearly the worship of many gods for one in public in Washington, DC that she God. Additionally, those from tribes was a proud Muslim American, a proud with customs to use intoxicants would Palestinian American and proud to be abandon the use of those intoxicants the organizer of the Women’s march as any convert to Islam would give up on Washington; that we would have to intoxicants. answer this question. Yet, true to form, Is there an American Muslim Center? people continue to ask if American Muslim women are treated harshly. Since Islam does not have a hierarchy of priesthood or a structure of clergy; Rather than go into all the rights there is no true American Muslim that women have in Islam, the legal center. Every community has their position that women have to inherit, own center of worship and there to be guaranteed protection by their are many organizations that Muslim husbands, fathers, brothers, etc. Rather American leaders look to as a central than detail the numerous instances organization to coordinate intellectual where the Prophet Muhammad resources. Organizations such as the commanded his followers to treat Islamic Society of North America, women with dignity and righteousness. the Islamic Circle of North America, One can just look at simple facts. the Muslim American Society, etc; still Men abuse women worldwide with no have divisions among them to cater to respect to religious, cultural, ethnic, or national boundaries. There is no each community. empirical evidence to prove that Every community around the country Muslim women are any more or less has a different set of needs just as every oppressed than any other women. other community in the country has a different set of needs. The mosque of a What is provable is that the religion of given community acts as a center for the Islam does not tolerate violence against Muslim Americans surrounding it. The women. Islam compels men to support mosque will provide services needed and defend women. Islam granted by the individual community and will gender equality to women nearly 1500 often hold services in the language of years ago. Muslims in America such as the immigrant community it serves (if Linda Sarsour, Asra Nomani, and many any), in Arabic (the language of the others continue to lead the charge for Qur’an), and more often than not they women’s rights in modern society. will also offer services in English. If you would like to continue Some immigrant communities band reading this article, Please visit: tightly together and center around their MuslimAmerican.Com/who-aremosque as a form of protection. These the-muslim-americans
“...people continue to ask if American Muslim women are treated harshly.”
Can Islam Recover American Values? Linda “iLham” Barto In a classic poster, Superman tells a group of school students, “…and remember boys and girls, your school, like our country, is made up of Americans of many different races, religions, and national origins, so, if you hear anybody talk against a schoolmate or anyone else because of his religion, race, or national origin, don’t wait –tell him that kind of talk is UN-AMERICAN” (© National Comics 1949).
“...if you hear anybody talk against a schoolmate or anyone else because of his religion, race, or national origin, don’t wait –tell him that kind of talk is UN-AMERICAN.” With a Constitution that reads, “All men are created equal…”, the ideal for the United States of America is a land of opportunity where dreams come true for all people. The USA is meant to be a place of refuge where neighbors respect and appreciate each other and help one another to find success and happiness. The American people believe in “United we stand; divided we fall”, and we are ready to fight for the rights and freedoms of one another. This describes the ideal.
The reality is quite different as America was founded on exploitation, oppression, slavery, murder, violence, and terrorism. Just a few examples include the enslavement, torture, and murder of black Africans (1619-1865); the Trail of Tears (1831-1837) in which over 46,000 Native American Indians were marched from their homelands to governmentdeclared “Indian Territory” in order to make 25 million acres available to European Americans; the Dred Scott Decision (1857) by the US Supreme Court, which ruled that black African Americans were not protected by the Constitution; the Battle of Antietam (1862), the first major battle of the Civil War, in which 23,000 died as Americans killed one another; the Wounded Knee Massacre (1890) which resulted in about 300 dead Native American Indian men, women and children and 25 soldiers; and Japanese Internment Camps (1942) in which roughly 100,000 Japanese Americans were interred in camps during WW2. These types of horrors continue into the present day as hate, bigotry, and discrimination affects Hispanic Americans, African Americans, immigrants, Muslims, Native American Indians, Jews, women, people of alternative lifestyles, and the list goes on. All religions of light share consonant values of honesty, integrity, charity, compassion, truth, justice, and fairness. When we focus on those consonant values, instead of arguing over differences, we can find our way back to the true ideals that will make America a
country where its citizens stand together to fight oppression and injustices and strive together to make the American dream a reality for all people regardless of race, religion, or national origin.
“...make America a country where its citizens stand together to fight oppression and injustices...” Islam is a religion that acknowledges that all religions of light have a place in God’s plan for salvation: “Indeed, those who believe [in the Qur’an], those who are [practicing] Jews, the Sabeans, followers of the Nazarene [ie, Christians], and any others who believe in Allah and the last day and who perform righteous deeds will have neither fear nor grief ” (Surah 5: 69). Here we find the basis for the ideal that all Americans, regardless of religion, can unite together in a mutual love for God in order to heal our land and bring a return to the beautiful ideals of America. This ideal does not even exclude atheists, humanitarians, and alternative religions like Wicca, because the modern definitions for ‘God’ include a recognition in the divine as the universal power that originates and maintains creation even though that power may not be recognized as an almighty being. Even religions like Wicca often recognize that there is one God for all people; they simply worship multiple gods and goddesses as
metaphors or attributes of the one true God. People of various religions are more connected in their belief systems than most people realize. In 1935, the United States Supreme Court recognized Prophet Muhammed (peace upon him) as one of the greatest lawgivers of all time. The laws and ethical system that he organized 1400 years ago brought an ignorant, pagan nation from the mire of darkness into a renaissance of spiritual and community values. As a politician, he negotiated treaties guaranteeing freedom of religion, self-governance, legal autonomy, and unity among all people. He established ethics of war, which was to be used only in cases of self-defense. He advocated for animal rights, declaring that food animals be raised in natural and humane conditions and that animals not be killed for vain reasons (ie, fur rugs). In respect to moral behavior, he stressed the importance of personal cleanliness, preservation and protection of natural environments, and righteous conduct. He taught to maintain good relationships, prohibited bigotry and racism, and emphasized kindness and hospitality and charity. He gave rules for marriage, reconciliation in strained relationships, divorce, and writing wills for inheritance. He stressed the value of every human being regardless of race, financial status, or religion. Prophet Muhammed (peace upon him) advocated for peace and justice. Islam in America should have such an effect on American society that Muslims take the lead in pointing America back to the ideals that are truly American –the ideals that Prophet Muhammed established 1400 years ago.
“...endorse what is right and forbid what is wrong. They will be successful.”
right and forbid what is wrong. They will be successful” (Surah 3: 104). It is up to us to be such valuable witnesses for righteousness that other Americans will feel the pull of Islam’s call to arise together to endorse what all religions know to be right and to forbid what is known to be wrong. Every religion of light has a commandment for peace with their neighbors. For examples: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” (Christianity). “Treat others as you would yourself be treated” (Hinduism). “Do unto all men as you would wish to have done unto you” (Islam). “What you yourself hate, do to no man” (Judaism). “Live in harmony, for we are all related” (Native American Indian). As the prophets before him (peace upon them all), Prophet Muhammed advocated for this consonant call for goodness and kindness: “None of you will have faith until he wishes for his brother what he wishes for himself.” He also said, “Kindness is a mark of faith, and whoever is not kind has no faith.” At this time, when there is so much division, crime, and corruption in America, we need Islam in America to help point people of all religions and of no religion back to the ideals that make us human beings created in the spiritual image of God. Humanity was created in God’s spiritual image in that we have been endowed with a spark of His wisdom and the free will to use or abuse that wisdom. The Qur’an confirms that in His making us uniquely apart from all other creation, God “breathed” into us “something of His own Spirit” (Surah 32: 9) and that He made us to represent Him on earth. We reflect the Divine Intelligence through our own advancements in science, mathematics, medicine, historical research, art, and literary works. When we live holy lives, we reflect the reality and perfection of God through our deeds of love, charity, and goodwill.
Islamic values are consistent and “May people among you invite [others] compatible with the ideal for American to goodness. May they endorse what is values because this ideal is influenced 25
by the consonant values of all religions of light. Islam in America has the ability to unite Americans and help them build an America where the value of each person is realized regardless of race, religion, and national origin. The Qur’an strives to bring people together in a spirit of harmony and respect for others: “O Humanity, We created you from one male and one female and made you into nations and tribes so that you may get to know one another. Truly the most honorable among you in the sight of Allah is the most righteous of you. Allah has full knowledge and is well aware” (Surah 49: 13). “Among His signs are the creation of the skies and Earth and the variations in your languages and your colors. Truly, in these are signs for those of knowledge” (Surah 30: 22).
“Islam in America has the ability to unite Americans and help them build an America where the value of each person is realized regardless of race, religion, and national origin.” Islam recognizes that the differences among humans are God-given attributes to be respected and appreciated and were never intended to divide us and cause hate, bigotry, and resentment. May our Islamic values point America back to its own values as people learn to unite in love, harmony, peace, kindness, and friendship. Linda “iLham” Barto is an author and illustrator in Maiden, North Carolina. Her books are available from www.Litby-Linda.com.
An Interview with Dr. Azim Beg, Principal of Charlotte Islamic Academy
Give us an Introduction of yourself and your experience in Education.
What is the benefit of AdvanceED accreditation?
I am Mirza Azim Beg, the Principal of Charlotte Islamic Academy. I bring over 50 years of experience in education. To be exact I started teaching in a high school in June 1960, at the age of 17 after finishing my Bachelor in Science from Karachi University. Later, in 1964, I completed B.Ed. with first class first position in the university, becoming Headmaster of a high school at the age of 21. I moved to the USA in 1972, finished my M.A. in School Administration, and started teaching in a top class Catholic High School in Michigan in 1973. After 27 years of successful career in catholic schools, Huda School & Montessori invited me to become their Principal and I served there for four years before moving to Charlotte in 2004. After retiring from Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools in 2011, I joined Charlotte Islamic Academy as a Math teacher, before becoming Principal in August 2016. In addition to my three college degrees, I
Accreditation with AdvancED is an international protocol of institutions committed to systematic and sustainable improvement. It builds capacity of the school to increase and sustain student learning. Criteria of accreditation involves a diagnostic process to stimulate and guide continuous improvement Mock Trial 2017 with focus on impact of teaching and learning, capacity of leadership, and use am also certified as a Principal in North of resources. Carolina. I believe, with experience of working both in Public and Privates Our school formed committees schools (including Catholic and Islamic) involving teachers, parents, board and having been a teacher, a Principal, members, and students to do the selfa board member, and a parent, I am assessment of the school, using rubric well qualified to guide Charlotte Islamic provided by AdvancED. Surveys were Academy towards becoming a model taken from all stakeholders, student performance data was analyzed and Islamic School. system of governance was examined. When was the school founded?
â€œ...While a Masjid serves as a place of worship and provides basic knowledge of Deen, the full-time Islamic School provides an environment where children grow in a culture of Islamic atmosphere,...â€? 26
Charlotte Islamic Academy was founded in 1998 as a K-6 school in the building owned by Islamic Center of Charlotte (ICC) with the name of Alhuda Islamic School. The School passed through several ups and downs and finally became Charlotte Islamic Academy in 2007 as K-12 school and moved into MAS building on Shamrock Avenue. Due to unavoidable circumstances, in June 2015, the school moved to the present location on Hickory Ridge Road in Harrisburg. Today, Alhamdulillah, we are an accredited Pre-K to 12 School, highly respected and accredited by AdvanceED (the organization formed by joining previously known NCA (North Central Association) and SACS (Southern Association of Colleges and Schools).
Oh, 100 Days too bright!
children grow in a culture of Islamic atmosphere, interacting with other Muslim children under the supervision of Muslim adults. They spend long hours in an environment which, on one hand, is safe and secure and protects them from the morally declining culture of public schools. On the other hand, they receive core curriculum education aligned with Islamic background, which not only prepares them for their futures, but also connects their knowledge with their Deen. In an Islamic school, all curricular, as well as co-curricular activities are based on the principles derived from Quran and Sunnah; thus producing individuals who are well versed in secular knowledge, with understanding and practice of their Islamic faith. Our mission statement clearly declares: To educate and inspire students in an Islamic environment to excel in a diverse society. In today’s America, having Islamic Schools, is many times more important than it was before.
After lengthy discussions and painstaking deliberations, a Continuous Improvement Plan was developed. The External Review Team (sent by AdvancED) examined Student Performance Records, Instructional Quality, Learner and Family Engagement, Support Sources for Student Learning, Curricular Quality and Efficacy, and College and Career Readiness Data. In their Exit Summary Report, the External Review Team What kind of qualifications do the approved us for 5-year renewal of teachers you employ have? accreditation by giving us high marks in Presently, Charlotte Islamic Academy most categories of their evaluation. provides education to 152 students What is the need of Islamic School in Pre-K to 12th grade classes under when we have public schools in our the supervision and guidance of 20 qualified teachers. All teachers at CIA midst? have at least BA/BS degrees; some have In my opinion, building Islamic Schools Master’s and two Ph.D.’s. is even more important than building Masajid. While a Masjid serves as a You said you have 152 students, are place of worship and provides basic any of them Non-Muslim? how about knowledge of Deen, the full-time Islamic the teachers? School provides an environment where At present, we do not have any nonmuslim students or teachers, but school welcomes all students irrespective of their faith. Our teachers are selected on the basis of their qualifications and experience. In past, we had some Non-Muslim teachers teaching corecurriculum. Is the school funded or managed by any particular Masajid? Graduation Ceremony 2016
In theory, the school is not connected
Gradutation - Class 2016
to any Masajid, but is supported by all of them. Most of our financial support comes from Islamic Center of Charlotte. Without continuous support from the ICC community, it would be very difficult for us to continue.
“...we can establish all of our programs that enhance learning according to the needs of 21st century.” What are some of the goals you wish to accomplish during your time as principal? We, at Charlotte Islamic Academy, wish to have our own building and enough financial resources so that we can establish all of our programs that enhance learning according to the needs of 21st century. To be able to excel, we need a well equipped STEM lab, a Media Center, and a proper gymnasium. As I look forward towards long-term goals, I envision a school that provides topnotch education, supported by a variety of electives that include Art classes, multiple foreign languages, and a vast variety of clubs that satisfy the needs and interests of all students, Insha Allah.
A Major Cause of Disability and Death Qaiser Toqeer MPH MD Brain is a very complex organ and controls significantly important functions such as being able to speak, understand, movement, behavior, breathing, heart rate, and sensations such as touch, vision, smell and hearing. Stroke can lead to deficits in some or all of these functions depending on the severity of disease. Stroke has long been known as a leading cause of death in the United States. According to American Heart association and American Stroke Association statistics published in 2017, approximately 800, 000 people are diagnosed with stroke each year. On average one patient has stroke every 40 seconds and 1 patient dies of stroke every 4 min (AHA, ASA Statistics 2017). Unfortunately, our communities still lack understanding of this lethal disease. There are two main types of strokes and each has different implication and treatment. Ischemic strokes account for approximately 85% of all strokes whereas rest of the strokes are hemorrhagic. Ischemic strokes are caused by a lack of blood flow to one part of the brain, caused by tightening or occlusion of blood vessels; whereas hemorrhagic stroke is bleeding inside the brain. Main risk factor for both types of stroke is high blood pressure. Treatment options for ischemic strokes can be therapeutic or preventive. The therapeutic option is highly dependent on recognizing warning signs and presenting them to emergency room immediately. The American Stroke Association (ASA) has come up with the FAST acronym which helps recognize warning signs of the stroke. FAST stands for facial droop, arm weakness, slurring of speech and time to call 911. If any or all of the above signs are present 911 should be called immediately. Unfortunately, 28
lifesaving treatments have to be initiated within 3 hours of symptoms onset to avoid major disability or death. In rare cases this can be extended to only 4.5 hours. On the other hand surgical treatment has to be initiated within 6 hours. Therefore presenting to emergency room immediately is the key to the treatment.
â€œ...approximately 800, 000 people are diagnosed with stroke each year. On average one patient has stroke every 40 seconds and 1 patient dies of stroke every 4 min (AHA, ASA Statistics 2017).â€? Prevention is the mainstay of treatment which focuses on reducing risk factors for stroke and heart disease. Risk factors include Hypertension, diabetes, hypercholesterolemia, a sedentary lifestyle, and most importantly smoking. People who suffer from high blood pressure are at higher risk. The American Heart association recommends blood pressure to be less than 120/80 especially for those individuals who have the risk factors
mentioned previously. To achieve this goal, an individual must consult with a primary physician to adjust blood pressure medications. In addition, salt intake must also be less than 3 grams daily. Weight loss is also associated with drop in blood pressure; each pound lost translates into a 1 mmHg drop in blood pressure. Diabetes or high blood sugar also leads to hardening of blood vessels by binding to hemoglobin found in red blood cells. Diabetes is measured by hemoglobin A1C which is a blood test that tells your physician an average of your blood sugar at any time for the past 3 months. ASA recommends hemoglobin A1C to be around 6.5%. In order to achieve this goal exercise and at times medications are necessary. Hypercholesterolemia is a disease which leads to elevated bad cholesterol and decrease in good cholesterol. Cholesterol plays a major role in plaque formation inside the blood vessels. Plaques are globules of bad cholesterol with blood cells. These plaques rupture because of high blood pressure and occlude the blood vessel leading to lack of blood flow to the brain. ASA recommends bad cholesterol (LDL) to be less than 100 and in cases of concurrent diabetes goal is to reduce the bad cholesterol (LDL) below 70 for stroke prevention. Smoking is strongly associated with major cancers and cardiovascular disease. It accelerates the progression of disease and complete cessation will slow down the progression to a significant degree. There are various resources available that can help quit smoking include medications, gums and patches.
“Main risk factor for both types of stroke is high blood pressure. “ In summary, stroke is a 5th leading cause of death in the United States and leads to major disability and deaths. Many risk factors are associated with stroke and mainstay of treatment involves modifying these risk factors. Therapeutic treatment is limited and requires prompt recognition of signs of stroke. FAST is utilized to recognize signs of stroke which stands for facial droop, arm weakness, slurring of speech and time to call 911. If you experience any of these
symptoms, have general concerns regarding heart disease or need help with smoking cessation, call your physician for information on therapy and prevention.
Across 2. Black 4. Dates 5. Seven 7. Hajj 8. Forty 9. Eid Down 1. Ramadan 3. Mecca 6. Egypt 8. Five 29
Benjamin, Emelia J. et al “Heart Disease and Stroke Statistics, 2017 Update: A Report From the American Heart Association.” Circulation (2017) Furie, K. L. et al, “Guidelines for the Prevention of Stroke in Patients with Stroke or Transient Ischemic Attack: A Guideline for Healthcare Professionals from the American Heart Association/ American Stroke Association.” Stroke 42.1 (2010): 227-76. Web.
Qaiser Toqeer MPH MD A Diplomat of the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology, Inc., a Member of the American Board of Medical Specialties.
I dedicate this article to my beloved father Toqeer Mehmood who encouraged me for this work.
Novant Health Inc. Dept. of Neurology
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Published on Mar 2, 2017
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