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4 | Living the Meccan Era By Azihan Ibrahim

6 | Abraham

By Imam John Ederer

8 | Ali Shah Pioneer For Islam In Charlotte By Aaliyah Shah & Imam John Ramadan

12 | The Belief of an Educator

By Rondie George


September - 2017, Volume 3, Issue 9 ISSN 2377 - 9624 Publisher & Editor-in-Chief : Mohamed Haroon Sait Editor : Nabeel Sait Design & Layout : Mubin M.K All content Copyright Š2016 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 : Advertising inquiries : Muslim American 400 Arrowhead Dr East Charlotte, NC 28213

Phone: (704) 597-5424 FAX: (704) 597-9310

Living the Meccan Era By Azihan Ibrahim The challenges the we face nowadays are akin to the Meccan Era of the Prophet’s life. Ranging from unpleasant stares at the groceries to the burning down of masajids around the country, these anti-Muslims behavior are on the rise. According to Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), from 2014 to 2016 antiMuslims incidents increased by about 65%. It is imperative for us to take lessons on how the Prophet dealt with such situations back then. After all, in the beginning only a handful were Muslims – a number a lot smaller than we are today. “VERILY, in the messenger of Allah is the best model for everyone whose hope is in Allah and the Final Day and who engages much in the praise of Allah.” Al-Ahzab 33-21 When we talk about uswatun hasanah or good example, nothing compares to the endorsement of both friends and foes. We know that he was known as the truthful one in his community. Rahmatan Lil Aalamin - (Al Anbiya 21-107) What it means to us? When the word rahmatan is discussed we regularly relate it to certain acts of kindness, either to human being or animals and even to the protection of the environment. For example, who doesn’t know the event that took place in Taif? The Taif saga epitomized the very essence of patience, tolerance 4

and vision of our beloved Prophet pbuh. The opportunity to take revenge on the assault is there when the angels we ready to crush the mountain and yet, not only did he refuse that opportunity but he did the opposite – making supplication for them, not against them, that their offspring will, InshaAllah, come to the fold of Islam. And the rest is history. Do we have the same vision for our own community we lived in?

our use, and by default we are more capable. The sending of Rasululullah; meaning from his birth to his prophethood is mercy. He is the embodiment of mercy, his entire teaching is mercy.

This is the part that we didn’t get. What is our role in this great message? We can scream from the top of our lungs that Islam is mercy, the prophet was sent as a mercy but until and unless this In our affairs today, we are message reaches those people quick in seeking revenge, either around us, touches their lives by action or by supplication – this slogan is just an empty – wishing for the worst to the rhetoric. In fact, it will be just a oppressor. For example, how many times we’ve heard preachers laughing matter for us to say that Islam is merciful. and Imams saying death to the Yahud but in the same breath they asked us to take lessons Let’s honestly ask ourselves how from Taif. We know from Islamic we can fit in to be a part of this traditions that those oppressed, great message. Let’s make an their supplications will not be honest supplication to Allah to refused by Allah. Perhaps it is guide us how to help his Deen. time that we ask for the guidance Other than just being a good to the enemy instead of for their father who goes to work every destruction, i.e. following what day and pays mortgage, or being the Prophet did in Taif. a good mother sending kids to school and cooking good food; ask Allah what is there for us to bring Having said that, rahmatan lil aalamin is meant for a higher level back the rahmah to the rest of the than that, more than how to treat world. people and environment. Allah gives example that if this message Concept of Khalifah – (Al was given to the mountain we Baqarah 2-30) would have seen it humbled and coming apart. Al Hashr: 59-21. This one word is often The mountain will crumble not misunderstood and misused by because of the physical weight Muslims and Non-Muslims alike. but rather the responsibility that Our role as khalifah or vicegerents this message brings. We, human of God is about taking care of beings, have the mind and the things and improving the world, intellect to crush the mountain for hence improving the quality of

Muslim American Magazine September 2017

lives. Al-Gazali talks about how those who love nature love God and those who love God love nature. Between the wealthy and the poor, between the oppressor and the oppressed, between the strong and the weak; who would need more help and caring? For sure the latter. One example that came to mind, and this perhaps will help us understand how this works, is the involvement of American Civil Liberty Union – ACLU in dealing with the Muslim ban issue. Back in January, when President Trump signed the first executive order banning Muslims from 7 Muslim-majority countries from entering the US, ACLU was at the forefront fighting this unconstitutional ruling. They promptly sent their lawyers to the


airports as well as filed several lawsuits against it. As a result, within one week ACLU collected donations six times more than their yearly average. They may not be the khalifah of the day but their actions are; championing the cause in protecting the minority and the oppressed, garnered supports from more than 350,000 donors.

process ordered by the caliph. As expected, they came in without any fight. What they didn’t expect was, due to their uprightness following the etiquettes, they entire city embraced Islam – including those monks.

We have a choice – either to go about being stranger to each other, or move to the next level becoming someone who cares, or moving to the highest level as When Muslim armies occupied someone who is constantly taking the city of Samarkand, they did care. When dealing with nonnot follow the Islamic protocol Muslims becomes an integral part of war by giving them enough of our lives, we can’t do it without notice, either to surrender or to getting organized, thus getting fight. The worshiping monks in ourselves engaged and organized the city knew about this mistake and complained to Khalifah Umar is now mandatory. Abdul Aziz. The caliph summoned the army general and asked to rectify this mistake. The general had to withdraw every single army out of the city and restarted the

Abraham By Imam John Ederer Our beloved Prophet (Peace and Blessings be Upon Him) has taught us that “There are no greater days nor are there any days in which good deeds are more beloved than in these first ten days of Dhul-Hijjah.” (Ahmad 9/14) So what makes these days so special and why is their value so great? It is a celebration of our forefather Abraham (PBUH) and his legacy. Almost all of the prophets mentioned in the Quran come from the lineage of Abraham (PBUH). Is this because God only revealed His message to them? In fact in the Quran teaches us – “There are messengers We have surely told you their story and there are others we did not tell you.”(4:164) “A guide was sent to all nations.” (13:7) “There is no nations that was left without a warner sent to it.” (35:24) Our scholars have commented on these verses with some narrations attributed to the Prophet (PBUH) that there were many thousands of prophets sent to mankind. So what is so special about Abraham? First of all he is the father of both Isaac and Ishmael (PBUT). Isaac is the father of Jacob Israel whose 12 children are the Israelites later known as Jews. Ishmael is the father of the modern Arab tribes of Arabia. When we look in the bible we see that right after Ishmael was born 6

God made a special covenant with Abraham and his progeny after him. (Genesis 17:7-10) After Sarah got jealous and God decreed that Abraham’s wife Hagar and their baby boy Ishmael were to be taken to the desert of Paran where the following happened. Lift up the boy, and hold his hand, for I will make him into a great nation.” Then God opened her eyes, and she saw a well of water. And she went and filled the skin with water and gave the boy a drink. (Genesis 21:18) So the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) was born in the same place as when God made this prophecy and he is the leader of that great nation that God prophesied long ago. You may notice in our daily prayers we ask God to bless Muhammad (PBUH) and his family as He did Abraham (PBUH) and his family. The Quran is clear about the status of Abraham.

Muhammad and according to the way of our forefather Abraham who was never a polytheist.” (Albani 2989) Abraham (PBUH) was mentioned in 73 places in the Quran from 25 different Surahs! What are some important lessons we can take from the life of Abraham that make him so special to us? 1. He was heavily reliant on his innate connection to God and purpose with rational thought! This becomes clear in his thought about the idols of his people, the interactions he had with them, how he thought about and explained the worship of the celestial bodies and how he argued with the king. 2. He prayed a lot and it was mostly for the benefit of others. His forward thought caused him to pray for future generations. It was his prayer that brought the Prophet (PBUH) mashallah.

“There is no one with better religiosity than the one who has 3. He had audacity. He wasn’t submitted himself to God in scared to point out to his benevolence following the religion father and the people of his of Abraham who God took as his town how irrational it was to beloved friend.” (4:125) worship idols. Similarly when he was trying to understand Our Prophet taught us to recite the resurrection of life he daily, morning and evening, “We didn’t shy away from asking have embraced the morning/ God how it works. night on the innate reality of Islam, the word of sincerity and 4. He was deeply forgiving. We upon the religion of our prophet

Muslim American Magazine September 2017

and mastery of the life of Abraham and his family and the important lessons we learn from it. We must make 5. He was deeply reliant upon a big deal of God. This was evident when this as we read he was being shackled and put the Quran; into the fire. It also rings true especially in with his many migrations. the first ten days of Dhul6. He was the ultimate example Hijjah. May of submission to the will God guide us of God even when it meant all on the path sacrificing what is most of our beloved beloved to him. We see this Prophet vividly when he was first Muhammad commanded to leave his wife and only son in the desert and according to then when he was commanded the way of our forefather to kill his own son. Abraham There is no doubt that it is crucial (PBUT)! we have a deep understanding see this as he swore to seek God’s forgiveness for his father’s polytheism until he died. It is also clear when he was begging God to give the people of Lot (PBUH) another chance.


ALI SHAH PIONEER FOR ISLAM IN CHARLOTTE By Aaliyah Shah & Imam John Ramadan Islam was introduced to Charlotte, NC by Imam AliShah in 1960. Born September 15, 1930 to Mr. Amzi Lightner and Mrs. Janie Boyd Lightner in Fairfield County, SC. He was born the 8th child and his birth name was Array Lightner which he later changed to Larry Lightner. He left SC at 16 with a formal 8th grade education taking up residence in Baltimore then New York. He delved into several business ventures. He was well liked and a natural born leader. He was introduced to the Nation of Islam in 1954 by his brother Thomas X Lightner. He soon joined the Nation of Islam and became a soldier under the leadership of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad. He sold and delivered Muhammad Speaks papers door to door, to push the teachings. He was assigned the task to go into cities to set-up and introduce Islam on the West Coast. In 1960 he was sent by the Honorable Elijah Muhammad to Charlotte, NC to start Temple #36. He and his wife Sister Betty 2X (who came into the NOI in 1956 under Malcolm X ) the dynamic duo then begin to build the Nation in Charlotte. The first Mosque was a modest space inside of Minister Larry X (as Imam Ali Shah was formerly known) cousin’s home Daisy Boyd Killian. He begin laying the foundation there for Temple #36 before it opened on Brevard street in uptown Charlotte.

of it! He had many businesses that he operated simultaneously, creating jobs, opportunity and building confidence at a time when being African American was frowned upon but African American AND a Muslim received great opposition. He ran a lawn service, carpet cleaning service, painted homes, purchased products from members of the community to sell and used the profits to support the Masjid & restaurant. The followers believed in his vision and supported him faithfully. Minister Larry did not discriminate in employing and helping others. He hired the sisters to work in the Restaurant and pick vegetables on the farm; the brothers were hired to paint, cut grass, clean etc. to support their families. We operated like our own Nation within a Nation, only God and self reliance and the believers although not wealthy people we were PROUD of our community and to be Muslim. Monthly there would be a bazaar, banquet, or popular guest speakers that supported the Temple. As the ministry grew Minister Larry ventured out of Charlotte expanding his influence in Rockingham NC, Chester SC, Statesville NC, Concord NC, Greensboro NC, Winsboro SC, a farm from local friends in Mint Hill where he grew vegetables and Huntersville NC, Asheville NC and other neighboring cities. fruits that he fed the community with through the restaurant’s fresh and healthy meals. Among In 1971 Minister Larry received his employees were young Muslim approval from the Honorable members of the Nation. He Elijah Muhammad to open a loved helping and teaching his school to educate our youth . Temple #36 later found a larger home to accommodate its growing people, it showed and the Muslim Soon Muhammad’s University of community was thriving because Islam was established. In classic following on Davidson Street in 8

uptown. It was on Davidson street where he opened the first Shabazz Fish Steak and Take across the street from the flourishing Mosque, Even as the Minister of a blossoming Mosque and business owner he still soldiered educating the city about Islam. His concern for the health, wealth and spiritual well being of the community was always at the forefront. He rented

Muslim American Magazine September 2017


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supportive community fashion he hired the believers to educate in the school. There was already an operating daycare center and homes for single brothers and single sisters to reside . He would rent homes to couples needing a residence. Minister Larry a man with a strong passion for helping with an already full plate still found time to feed the children and elderly. Nothing came easy we worked hard even his children, He at times had to physically fight to keep what he had worked so hard to build. Several times he contacted the Honorable Elijah Muhammad to let him know the battles he faced in the temple and community. The Honorable Elijah Muhammad would always reply with a letter that was encouraging to Ali Shah. The community outside of the Masjid got to know him as he was a fixture and would refer to him as Minister Larry or Minister X. He opened a restaurant on Beatties Ford where Temple #36 had relocated to as well. Financially savvy well beyond his years Minister Larry was able to make means stretch for the betterment of the community he worked so hard to build. Every year he continue to get and sell seasonal fruits, fresh baked bread, cakes, cookies, pictures and even toys to help produce income to run the schools, Masjid and restaurant. He made running this growing Nation within a Nation look easy although it was not. He opened restaurants in Chester SC , Asheville, NC, and another in Charlotte, NC on West Blvd. When Imam Wallace Deen Muhammad took office he delivered the name Ali Shah for Minister Larry X which he proudly took on in 1975. Under new leadership after the passing of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad 10

cultures to come and practice this beautiful religion as his daughter Aaliyah Shah has so eloquently described many aspects of his life he was a forerunner for educating business, interfaith, and respect for all people in our community. He had a very caring heart for the young and especially the elderly who he helped on a regular basis. I accepted Islam in 1970. He was like a father to myself and many others. Imam Shah started me on my way to business entrepreneurship. When I graduated from college I had no idea about working for myself. In one of our many meetings Imam Shah asked me “What are you going to do college boy?” I said “get a job”. He replied “What did you go to school for?” I replied “to get an education” He said “If you had an education you could create a job for yourself and others Allah has equipped you to do anything that you want to do.” I went on to be his assistant and mentee for many years and was I am Imam John Ramadan, a groomed to become an Imam. native Charlottean. I have seen That information was so profound many changes both physically sparked my mind, I moved from and culturally to the Charlotte positions of counselors, owning area. I was contemplating the a cleaning service, owning a real way Islam has grown in this area estate company, building my upon viewing the thousands of own office building and later multicultural Muslims in this construction in which I am a area and I also thought they are licensed building contractor. completely unaware of the origin of Islam in our city. It was in 1960 He has helped countless and encouraged thousands of that Imam Ali Shah came to the individuals to go into business for Charlotte are to establish Islam themselves. Many will and some locally. We can only imagine in will not acknowledge his help the segregated south at that time someone saying Asalaam Alaikum and guidance. He was a great spiritual leader and encouraged & Allahu Akbar in a bible belt those around him to do the right state. Imam Shah worked alone thing because of his teachings and many times persevering and leading me to Allah I was able to being steadfast. He was a true help people and encourage self pioneer who came where there employment, the power of faith, were no paths and forged a way and doing good by people. In in the wilderness for Islam in return my family has benefited this area and now it is a major from the Masjid’s schooling and thoroughfare for many different The school remained in place on Beatties Ford rd and became the Sister Clara Muhammad Elementary & Secondary School. He continued to build and grow Islam even when his health begin to decline. He worked every day supervising the many mentees he had been grooming to fill his very large shoes. He continued to reside in his family’s home he’d built on Reames Rd until his death in April of 1999. Even in the hospital he would continue to send friends fruits, dinners always giving something. I asked him if he had his life to live again how would he live it? He replied “Exactly the way I have” In the center of all the building and providing he fathered 7 boys and 4 girls. He was a spiritual father to millions of people. No matter what came his way he never ever gave up that was one of his main mottos of life. - Aaliyah Shah Daughter of Imam Ali Shah

Muslim American Magazine September 2017

many are now entrepreneurs of their own. The teachings of Imam Shah I have used to encourage brothers and sisters of all faiths, recycling his simple but powerful words I’ve received praise and thanks for values that he instilled in me and all the while reminding me all Good comes from Allah. I would like to encourage all Imams in our city to share this knowledge with their believers and understand the sacrifice that Imam Ali Shah while establishing this religion. On September 23 2017 Masjid Ar-Razzaq will give him the humanitarian award for his work in establishing Islam in our city at Friendship Baptist Church 3400 Beatties Ford Road Charlotte NC, 28216 at 1:30 for additional information contact 704-393-7584 for our 10th Anniversary of our Interfaith Banquet themed

“Building Bridges of Humanity in a World of Many Faiths A Reunion of the Human Family”

“You have to learn to follow to become a good leader” “Believe in yourself and Allah” “ Leaders are born not made” “Fear is our greatest enemy” “You can only bring out and cultivate what is already in a person”

Imam John Ramadan Masjid Ar-Razzaq 2735 Royston Rd Charlotte NC, 28208 Some quotes from Imam Ali Shah “Organization is the key to success”

“Real education is observing and studying the natural world” Submitted by Imam Abdul Pasha Masjid Ali Shah 1230 Beatties Ford Rd Charlotte NC, 28216


The Belief of an Educator By Rondie George I believe that teaching is a gift. You must be a lover of education and people to make the profession a positive place to be. You wear many hats: mentor, role model, counselor and friend. The main reason that I teach is because I love students and I am rewarded by seeing others become successful. Teaching has been my passion ever since I was nineteen years old. I have hundreds of students who I have inspired and assisted throughout my career. There must be a daily yearning embedded within your heart and mind. You cannot be taught to become a teacher. It must be the driving force in your entire body in order to accomplish success daily.

Students practice verbal skills in the class using classroom tools. Picture provided by Rondie George.

and activities and reward students for effort and excellence. I believe that it takes an entire community to raise and nurture a child. We must take the initiative to assist our students in developing I hold a Bachelor’s Degree in lifelong skills take will take them Education and a Minor in Spanish through their successful career. which I obtained from the University of the Virgin Islands. I believe that the focus must I hold a Master’s Degree in Education with a specialization in be on developing individual Reading from National University. learning to meet the needs of our students. I want to meet each As an educator for the past 25 child at his/her level and allow years, I’ve been honored to be Teacher of the Year multiple times them to show daily growth, while moving toward proficiency and and hold leadership positions in North Carolina, the Virgin Islands beyond. I place emphasis on the and, currently, Florida. I exist in learning experiences within the classroom by motivating students the field of education because of my love for students and because and encouraging them to become of my desire to impart knowledge active learners, and to allow them to make connections to real life to students who may need a situations. I must consistently boost of wisdom, reasoning and a positive push. I always strive to incorporate activities that will attend to cultural differences bring out the best in others, take pride in preparing quality lessons, and diverse learners, and allow students to know that I respect 12

Muslim American Magazine September 2017

and admire what each child brings to the table. My dedication and commitment to the teaching profession is renewed each day. I give teaching my all, daily, with the idea in mind that I only have but a year with a class to make a positive difference. My daily reward comes from me seeing happiness, excitement and success on the faces and in the hearts of my students. I am not motivated by compensation or material gains. Teaching is a profession that calls for you to exercise patience, understanding, critical thinking, consideration, dedication and commitment, but most of all, love, true love and a genuine concern for the improvement of our students. To teach is to touch the lives of others forever.





Profile for Muslim American

Muslim American Magazine September 2017  

All content Copyright © 2017 Muslim American, Inc. except where otherwise noted. Please contact the editor or publisher directly to obtain r...

Muslim American Magazine September 2017  

All content Copyright © 2017 Muslim American, Inc. except where otherwise noted. Please contact the editor or publisher directly to obtain r...