Addressing Racism Within the Community
with Dawud Walid
Racism is not just individual bias and social prejudice
-It is prejudice plus power
-creates negative consequences for the person of lower power (marginalization)
The term racism did not exist during the time of the prophet, but there was tribalism (al-asabeeya)
-A man asked what is tribalism, and the prophet said leave tribalism because it is rotten
Allah made us to be different
-And the differences between the night and the day and the difference between your skins and your tongues
-“We have made you into various nations and tribes so you may get to know one another”
-Our first identity is a part of human kind, then nations, then tribes. Our human identity is most important in this hierarchy
-These different identities are healthy, but as Muslims if we start to create a hierarchy it becomes easy to enter racism
-Original racist was Iblis (Jinn were here before men, and Iblis was of high status)
-Iblis refused to recognize Adam because he believed himself to be better because he was made of fire and Adam was made of dust
-Iblis in his mind made himself bigger and more important than what he was (This is the mind of the racist)
Campaign to stop the A word (abeed)
Racism that manifest itself in micro aggression
-verbal and non-verbal
-ex. A man of a different race comes to a mosque, the iqama is called and no one stands next to him to pray because he is of a different race
-racism can be so deep it expresses itself in subtle ways
-ex. A man comes into a room and everyone speaks English fluently, but a new person enters, they change the language so the newcomer will not understand
-in Quran it says secret councils are from the devil (group of three, but one is left out)
-someone comes forth with concerns about racism, but the script get flipped and the persons feelings are viewed as invalid or that person is called out about being racist
-Can happen within the same ethnic group, if someone has friends or wants to marry someone outside the group
-Alienation and tokenization
-Someone comes to a masjid, but because they are not part of a specific group, they are not given opportunities to power
-A convert comes into the group, and they are pushed up on leadership
-The most important is self-calculation
-look into your own heart and actions and make them more pure and sensitive to these situations
-It can happen consciously and unconsciously, so needs to be explored within each individual
-When you make fun of people or put others down, you are rebelling against Allah who made people to be different
-Recognizing these situations and try to avoid ourselves falling into the same mindset, and have the strength to confront those who do act in this way
-Addressing justice in the best way with a level head
-If you just feel bad about it in your heart, The Prophet called this the weakest of faith
Racism and Classism are related, but the history of Islam gives us examples of brotherhoods that push these lines established by society
-This teaches us to make friends with people outside our ethnic groups and economic lines
Best time to address this is at a young age
-We need more open discussion about this through conversations
Communities should not close the door to or mock inner racial marriage
-This can be seen by The Prophets marriages and marriages between the sahabba
-Compatibility is important, but this starts with deen
The program started with Dua Kumayl, which is a dua for forgiveness traditionally read on Thursday night. It was recorded by Imam Ali’s companion, Kumayl, and thus this is where the name came from.
The topic of discussion was Eid-e Mubahila
Poetry about the event was recited by Rabab. The poem is at the bottom of these notes.
The non-believers from the community Najran, living under the prophet’s rule, were not willing to convert nor were they willing to pay the jizya. Jizya is a tax that is to be paid by non-Muslims under an Islamic government in order to be protected. These non-believers then sent the best amongst them to debate with the Prophet Muhammad on religion.
When they went to the prophet and claimed Jesus was the son of God, Allah sent down Ayah 59 surah Aale Imran “Verily, the similitude of Jesus with Allah is as the similitude of Adam; Allah created him out of dust, then said to him, ‘Be’, and he became”
The non-believers couldn’t argue with this, but they were still unconvinced. Then the ayah Aale Imran verse 61 was also revealed
Should anyone argue with you concerning him, after the knowledge that has come to you, then say: ‘Come! Let us call our sons and your sons, our women and your women, our souls and your souls, then let us pray earnestly and call down Allah’s curse upon the liars’. (Qur’an 3:61)
The Messenger of Allah (S) told the non-believers of Najran that they would go to a mountain and bring the best amongst the non-believers and the best amongst the Muslims and whoever was lying would be cursed.
The Prophet brought with him his daughter Fatima, her husband Imam Ali, and their children Hassan and Hussain as indicated in this ayah. The leader of the non-believers asked who these people were and then said “O non-believers! Surely I see the faces that if they ask Allah to remove a mountain from its place, He would surely remove it. Therefore, do not do imprecation, otherwise you will perish, and there will not remain any non-believer on the face of the earth, upto the Day of Resurrection.”
Thus the curse never happened and so the non-believers were given 2 choices:
- accept Islam
- surrender and pay the jizya
They chose to pay the jizya.
Why did the prophet only bring his family?
He was sure that he was right.
How is jizya fair?
The non-believers were protected for paying the jizya.
Unlike other people that conquered through religion, the prophet didn’t make people
Had their own courts, had their own religion.
The Prophet openly debated the non-believers and we should derive a principle that we should speak openly about our beliefs. To go off of that we should also be very knowledgeable about our own beliefs in order to know these things and defend ourselves. We should take it a step further and engage in dialogue with people of other faiths.
If we believe in the truth we should talk about it.
It connects well to our interactions with other religions. We should spend time to learn about other religions. The best way to spread religion is through akhlaq–our manners and our actions.
An example of this is when Imam Reza (as) would have large dialogues with members of different faiths.
What do Sunnis believe about Mubahila? People believe that this happened historically in their books of history, but some don’t completely agree with Imam Ali, Bibi Fatima, Hassan, and Hussain were actually the people mentioned in this verse although they acknowledge that they were there.
Why is Mubahila so important?
There are many different dimensions to this debate
The non-believers knew just by their faith on their faces and they asked who they are. It is also important to note that these weren’t just everyday non-believers, they were very high ranking non-believers so people couldn’t say that they weren’t strong in their faith.
We believe that are different levels of meaning in the Quran. You can relate this debate to eid al Ghadeer because we see that the Prophet brought the Ahlulbayt, not just common people.
Poem on Eid e Mubahila
The non-believers came
To be in debate
To challenge the prophet
And Islam the true faith
They came draped
in fine silk and gold
to show there status
If only they knew
The dunya is as worthless
As the wing of a dead fly
Then they said to the prophet
Jesus was the son of the Lord
Who was meant to be worshipped
Then Allah sent down
From his highest throne
Words of truth
In the most elegant tone
Verily Jesus is with Allah
The way Adam is with Allah
Allah created him out of dust
Be and he became
This truth is from the Lord
Do not be amongst the doubters
And if anyone disputes
Concerning this truth
Say to them
Let us call our sons
And your sons
Our women and your women
And ourselves and yourselves
And whoever is wrong
Let God’s curse be upon them
Then when the non-believers went
To the mountain
They were in awe
They couldn’t believe
When they saw that Muhammad
Came with two darling children
With faces so sweet
A young women
Walking with grace
And a young man
With courage on his face
The Bishop exclaimed
I can see with my eyes
That if they prayed
To the lord to uproot move mountains
God would not hesitate
Then he turned to his non-believers
And whispered in apprehension
Do not do imprecation
For then there will be no non-believers
Until the day of resurrection
Who were these people?
That caused such a change
That struck fear
In the hearts of these non-believers
Surely they were
Ali, Fatima, Hassan, and Hussain
From the house of the prophet
With the firmest of faith
University of Michigan
Muslim Students’ Association
Fast-A-Thon is an annual event organized by the Muslim Students’ Association at the University of Michigan whose goal is to attract students from different backgrounds to participate in a one day fast as well as encourage students to donate to a noble humanitarian cause that needs support. This event is in its 13th consecutive year at the University of Michigan. Every year, students pledge to fast from sunrise to sunset on the day of the event, and sponsors also donate money on behalf of each participant to a selected beneficiary. Fast-A-Thon concludes with a dinner in the evening, where participants have a chance to reflect on the day of fasting and the cause, as well as make new friends.
Fundraising for a humanitarian cause has always been a notable effort that Fast-A-Thon organizers rally the community to support. Instead of being a passive student body or being part of the silent majority, we hope to encourage students to be part of the solution. We want to show people that strength is in our numbers and unification, and that we can make an impact and be agents of change by donating our time and efforts to a cause. We are asking the wider community, comprised of a diverse group of businesses, community members, alumni, as well as students to donate. By raising funds for children being deprived of education, this event serves the local community and encourages social action. During the day of the event, participants learn about the tradition of fasting in a multicultural context, which adds to the educational component of the event. Additionally, because the beneficiary is one whose plight has been in the international news media, we believe that this fundraiser will garner support from a large concerned audience.
This year’s Fast-A-Thon will fundraise to send displaced Syrian refugee kids to school. The organization we have partnered with is the Syrian Sunrise Foundation (SSF) which is a non-profit 501(C)3 humanitarian organization. It has provided orphan support, medical aid, food aid, funded educational programs and schools, and much more to Syrian refugees. As concerned college students we feel it is imperative fundraise to support SSF’s educational programs and schools. According to UNHCR, WFP, WHO, and UNICEF more than 3000 schools have been destroyed since the start of the Syrian conflict, and about 90% of displaced children dropped out of school. In 2012 to 2013, SSF spent $285,698 dollars funding schools, teachers, textbooks, and more. It is a great opportunity to provide students and the general community a medium to contribute how ever much they can to improve Syrian kids’ access to an education.
Fast-A-Thon has grown popular at a national level in top U.S Universities. It has been an annual event that Muslim communities at different college campuses host to bring together both Muslim students and students of other beliefs to meet Muslims and learn something new about the Islamic faith. The one practical step this event encourages students to uphold is fasting from food and drinking from dawn to sunset. This is one of the tenets of Islam and on the day of the event students are encouraged to try this unique ritual. At the University of Michigan, the event has been successful for the past thirteen years, bringing together up to two hundred students from different backgrounds to break fast together at the time of sunset.
Students that have attended this event have expressed the spiritual upliftment they feel as a result of participating in Fast-A-Thon. Whether its the short inspiring sermon, making new friends during breakfast, or the long hours of fasting followed by a tasty dinner, all these are what make Fast-A-Thon a highly anticipated event by U of M students. For Muslim students, this event is especially unique as they get to teach a friend or classmate about their faith and why they fast.
Every year the organizers of Fast-A-Thon strive to make the event a unique experience for the attendees. That means serving a delicious meal as a reward for those who fasted the long hours in the day. That also means arranging for a great motivational speaker to engage the audience. These two expectations that Fast-A-Thon organizers have fulfilled in the past, require a great amount of money to provide. Organizers of Fast-A-Thon across the nation usually charge students to attend. However, at the University of Michigan, organizers have kept the attendance free of cost and we as well want to maintain that.Thus, we reach out to you to help us strengthen our budget for this highly appreciated event by many U of M students. Funding is crucial as the success of this type of event has proven to be correlated with the amount of money the organizers are allowed.
To register for the event please visit: http://muslims.studentorgs.umich.edu/fast-a-thon-2
To donate to the event please visit: https://www.launchgood.com/project/uofmfat
Sh. Ali Suleiman Ali
Islam has its own well established system, this system of life has no stone unturned. The system of Islam guides the servants first to Allah and then in their relationships.
The rights of parents on their children and the rights of children on the parents:
-If one fails to give one his or her rights, they will not be on good terms
-Nuh and his son
-father is righteous and the son and mother are not
-Ibrahim, his father, and his sons
-Ibrahim’s father was not Muslim and tried to raise him as an idol worshiper.
-We do not choose our children or our parents, it is from Allah
-When Ibrahim got older, he dealt with his father in an excellent manner
-Addressed his father in one of the best terms and spoke kindly when he tried to guide him even when his father became harsh on him
-Father threatened to stone Ibrahim, and Ibrahim said peace be on you
-There are many people who are harsh on their parents. People should take examples from Islam to see how to deal with parents even if parents are wrong.
-The way Ibrahim treated his father, is the way Ismail treated his father
-They had good open communication
-Two daughters of Shooaib
-Open communication in this relationship
-Daughters tell Musa their father is old and that is why they go to the well
-Reminds us to help our parents
-The rights of the parents come first
-rights two-fold: before you have kids and after
-give them their rights before they enter the world
-Choose for your offspring (good spouse you can trust with your offspring)
-Men marry women for these reasons (last one should not be forgotten)
-beauty, wealth, family, and deen
-A slave woman is better than a woman of great beauty who is not Muslim
-If someone asks for your daughter, look to deen and character
-If you give your children their rights accordingly, Inshuallah they will give you your rights in old age (not 100% like stories in the Quran show)
-The rights children have on their parents
-Before trying for a child, there is a dua that should be made
-child comes into world man should be with wife and make Athan
-Give him or her a good name
-Give thanks to Allah by making a sacrifice
-Feed him halal
-Wives of prophet and sahaba would say we can stand hunger, but we cannot stand hell fire
-Teach tawheed from the beginning
-Put taqawa in their hearts (awareness of Allah, and that He sees all)
-Will help guide kids who have gone astray
-Teach children how to pray
-Be an advocate for good and condemn what is wrong
-Teach children not to be arrogant and to speak with a respectful voice
-Parents should be a good example for their children
-Rights of parents on children
-Islam is a deen of mercy and ethics
-Allah commands us to worship no one but him and treat our parents with full kindness especially the mother
-Don’t even say “ooff” to them
-The only place to say no to parents is when they tell you to commit sheirk, but you should still treat them with respect and kindness
-Boy or girl interested in a man or woman for marriage but parents do not agree, but Allah warns us about not disobeying our parents
-Then girl and guy get confused about what to do because they do not want to disobey their parents
-In this case, one needs to look at the girl and boy and see if there is compatibility based on deen
-If parents want a divorce for no good reason, should not be followed because injustice
-Forced marriages not allowed
Those who take care of orphans will be close to the prophet in Jannah
-As the boy or girl grow up it becomes different, but it is doable
-Adopted children cannot take the last name of those who take them in
Palestinian Awareness Week was hosted by Students Allied for Freedom and Equality. One of the events they had was Resistance Through the Arts, which featured Remi Kenazi and Tahani Salah. It also included student poets Tariq Luthun and Rabab Jafri.
Remi Kenazi is a Palestinian American spoken word artist and a son of Palestinian refugees. His work is political and is often inspired by real conversations. The topics of his poems included the importance of the BDS movement, the definition of political and even satirical commentary on “twitter activism.”
Tahani Salah is a spoken word artist and political activist. Her poems were inspired by her students, her parents, and mothers she met in Palestine.
Tariq Luthun is a poet and political activist as well as incumbent head coach of the University of Michigan poetry slam team. His poetry themes included being discriminated against and appearance.
Rabab Jafri is the author of the article you are reading and is a student at the University of Michigan. Her poetry was from the perspective of Palestinians subjected to oppression.
After the program I had the chance to talk to Remi and he mentioned how with every important activist movement there was an art movement to go with it. The goal of Resistance Through the Arts isn’t just about the performer or painter. It’s about inspiring people to realize that they have the power to promote change.
Links to more information:
Remi Kenazi: https://twitter.com/Remroum (also he has a book and it’s awesome)
Tahani Salah: https://twitter.com/TahaniPoet
Article about the mock wall by the Michigan Daily: http://www.michigandaily.com/