12 December 2009

Islamic club on campus...woo-hoo!

السلام عليكم (Asalaamu alaikum...peace be upon you),

I am a full-time college student. On my campus, there are different student clubs/organizations. A few months ago, as you may know, I wanted to have a fundraiser for "Pink Hijab Day" (to raise awareness for breast cancer...the money would have gone to the Susan G. Komen foundation). I was informed that since I was not part of a student club/organization, I was not authorized to hold a fundraiser on campus. Soooo....

I asked about having an Islamic club on campus, and was told to go ahead. So, I have been working on that since October. I have been blessed with a wonderful group of Muslims on campus that are helping out. We finally have gotten approval from the Student Government Association, to become an "official" club. We still need approval from the Dean of Student Services, but I don't think that will be a problem, insh'Allah (Allah willing).

One of the first orders of business we are already working towards is having a Prayer Room established on campus, for ALL faiths. As a Muslim, it is obligatory for us to pray five times a day, but there is no quiet area for us to do so on campus. I am also sure that the Christians, Jews, etc would like to have a quiet room where they can pray, read their Holy Books, and/or meditate as well...without causing a distraction to anyone else, and without being distracted by anyone. We have already started working on a petition. Insh'Allah, we will be able to get it approved.

Last week, a professor that teaches "Comparative Religions" asked if I, or someone from the club, would be willing to talk to his class about Islam. I said I'd ask around. Well, I was nominated as the one that should give the presentation. I did so earlier this week...it took an hour (would have been a bit shorter, but had technical difficulties with the PowerPoint equipment). I was very nervous...especially when I walked into the class and seen this guy that had basically interrogated me a few months back about why I was Muslim. Afterward, students asked q's (including that one guy...he asked quite a few), but alhamdulilah, nothing that I couldn't answer. Another professor that also teaches "Comparative Religions" saw the outline I had used for the presentation, asked if I would be willing to do a presentation for his "Comparative Religions" class next semester. I said sure, insh'Allah. (ha, turns out, that same professor will be my Philosophy professor next semester, as well, lol).

I am blessed, alhamdulilah. All this has got me thinking though. For a while, I have been contemplating wantint to write sisters that are incarcerated...and insh'Allah, one day visiting them, and having halaqas (study groups) if I can get approval for it. Well, another sister suggested we both become female Muslim Chaplains. This has been playing on my mind a lot. If you look further back in my blogs here, you will see that I had considered going to school for Islamic Studies, at an Islamic university. I pushed the idea to the side after a while. But, here I am again, masha'Allah...wondering if maybe I should follow this path. I will have to do some research, but maybe I could still major in Psychology, but then get a minor in Islamic studies. Being an actual chaplain requires 6 years of school...so I was thinking if I just minor in Islamic Studies, I could still be able to assist in some manner, at the female prisons, but without having to do all the additional schooling, insh'Allah.

I am also left being conflicted about my relationship with my fiance. He is Muslim as well, masha'Allah...however, he is not as strong in his deen as I would like. This has become more of a problem lately, for me. I've tried to discuss it with him, but it's like he doesn't really take me (or Islam) seriously. I am far from perfect...but, I want to continue to strive to be a better Muslim. So, I am stuck, not knowing what to do...I love him...but I have to (and do) love Allah (SWT) and Islam more.

Well, that is it for now, I just wanted to post an update on what's going on, since I haven't really done a blog post in a while.


29 October 2009

Pink Hijab Day was a success!

Asalaamu alaikum...

Yesterday was Pink Hijab Day for breast cancer awareness. A few sisters and I, at my campus all wore pink hijabs. I also had a table set up with breast cancer informatin, along with informatino on Islam, alhamdulilah! See...I'm trying to start an Islamic club on my campus...there are quite a few Muslims that attend the college, and I have come across misperceptions that non-Muslims have about Islam. I figured, insh'Allah, this will be a good way to establish dialogue between the Muslims and non-Muslims to help clear up some of the misperceptions. To set up a club and have it become "official," I have to have at least ten students interested in being members, and a faculty member that wishes to serve as an Advisor.

I figured Pink Hijab Day would be the perfect time to get news out about the upcoming club and to gain "potential members." Alhamdulilah....I had over 35 people sign up for the club yesterdaay!!!! Allahu akbar! AND...a Professor stopped by the table and said she wants to be the Advisor! Yeah! Allah (SWT) is truly wonderful!

Insh'Allah, I hope to have a guest speaker in November. I know a sister that went on Hajj and she had told me she'd be willing to speak to the group about her expeirence at Hajj and to share her pictures with us. :) I also hope to have a small Eid celebration on 30th Nov (we don't have classes the week of the 27th), insh'Allah. If anyone has any suggestions on what I can do for that, please let me know!! This is my first Eid al-Adha, so I'm not sure what all would be a good idea to do for the celebration.

The other big task that I'd like the club to accomplish is to set up a prayer room on campus. This can prove to be a bit difficult. I had previously spoke to one of the faculty about this and was told it would not be possible due to space limitations. However, I am thinking....insh'Allah, if I can get a petition started and enough people sign, something can be worked out. The prayer room would be for all major (Abrahamic) faiths, not just the Muslims (I figure I'd have a better chance of getting an "okay" if I make it available to everyone). The idea actually came from a brother that stopped by the table yesterday...he said at another school he had been to, they had a prayer room, and one section had Bibles and was for the Christians, another section had Torahs for the Jews, and a third area had Qur'ans and prayer rugs for the Muslims. I think this would be a good idea, and insh'Allah, proposing a room such as this would more likely be okay'd by the higher-ups on the campus. There is a Christian Fellowship Student Club also on campus, and I was considering contacting the President of that club to see if he (and his club) would be interested in joining the petition efforts for the prayer room.

If anyone has any suggestions/ideas/opinions/etc, feel free to let me know.


20 October 2009

Concentration During Prayer (khushooh)

Asalaamu alaikum sisters....

I attended a halaqah last month and it was very informative and interesting I thought, and so I wanted to pass the info on to my sisters here, masha'Allah. The halaqah was on "khushooh."

I had never heard of this word before. Basically, it means having humbleness and concentration during salah. This is very important.

How many of us just rush through our salah, without taking the time to really think about what is being said? Sometimes we're in a hurry because we have class, or an appt. Sometimes we have to make dinner. Or maybe there's just something good coming on tv we really don't want to miss. So, we rush through the salah, trying to get done in record time. Other times we're simply distracted by what's going on around us. The phone might be ringing, the kids might be crying, etc. Sometimes we're just distracted by our own thoughts...as Baba Ali says in his one video, as soon as you say "Allahu Akbar," it's like we begin to remember EVERYTHING we forgot...we remember where we left our keys; we remember a funny thing we saw; we remember a phone call we need to make; etc.

But, this is the opposite of khushooh....all this distraction. When we're making salah, we should be focused SOLELY on Allah (SWT). He is our creator, and it is the chance for us to speak directly to Him; to praise Him; and to seek His forgiveness and guidance. If you were meeting your favorite tv star, or even the President or a King of another country...would you fidget and let your mind wander? Or would you focus on the meeting and discussion? We should focus just as much...if not more so, when we're speaking to our Creator, masha'Allah.

So, keep this in mind the next time you are tempted to rush through salah. Take your time and concentrate and focus on who you are really speaking to, insh'Allah.


10 October 2009

How I came to Islam

Asalaamu alaikum (Peace be upon you)...

I wanted to explain how I came to Islam. It is a bit long, so I apologize in advance.

My interest in Islam began over a decade ago, when I was in 10th grade. My Social Studies class was learning about the Arab countries, and in doing so, we were taught about the Five Pillars of Islam (proclamation of faith, prayer, charity, fasting, and hajj- pilgrimage to Mecca). I was really fascinated by the pictures I saw of the Muslims in congregational prayer, bowing and prostrating in unison. I was also intrigued by the pictures of the hajj...thousands of people in white, worshipping God. I wanted to learn more...but three things prevented me from doing so. One was that I was a teen and dealing with many issues at home, and so I didn't take the time to follow up on it. Secondly, I felt sort of guilty, being a Christian, for being interested in any other religion. Lastly, the way the class was presented, it seemed as if only Arabs could be Muslims.

Fast forward two years. In my senior year of high school, there was a student from Saudi Arabia...Faisal....and I had a big crush on him. LOL One day he was showing a friend of mine, and myself, how to write a little Arabic. Knowing him again piqued my curiosity in Islam, but I didn't have the courage to ask him about it. I still had the misperception that Islam was only for Arabs...and now African-Americans. This new misperception came about because my mom was dating a black Muslim man...and he would often tell us how he was not supposed to be dating my mom because she's white. So, obviously, that caused me to believe that Islam was at the very least, not for whites to practice. (Knowing what I know now, I assume my mom's ex-bf was part of the Nation of Islam....not a tradtional form of Islam).

Fast forward again a few more years....In my mid to late 20's, I stopped attending church and really lost faith in Christianity. There were q's I had that I couldn't get the answer for. Let me say this...I never stopped believing in some sort of higher power...but that was about it. At first, I thought it was just the denomination that I wasn't satisfied with (Methodist), so I looked into different denominations. Then I looked into Buddhism, and even considered the occult. Nothing seemed right to me.

Finally, two years ago I met my fiance. He is Muslim. In one of the first letters I wrote him I said "You wouldn't expect me to convert to Islam, would you? Because that's not going to happen!" LOL I suppose one should never say never, eh? Allah (SWT) is the best of planners, indeed. Anyways, he replied that no, I didn't have to revert...that if I were to do so, I'd have to do it for myself and the sake of Allah (SWT). To convert to Islam (or any other religion for that matter) for someone else, other than yourself and God, is pointless and means nothing. Although, I didn't believe I'd ever convert to Islam, I did tell him I was interested in learning more about his beliefs. Over time, I'd ask q's here and there, and he'd answer.

Then about a year and a half ago, one day I just had the sudden urge to wear the hijab (headscarf). Idk why....just did. I wrote him a letter and asked him if he'd want me to wear the hijab, to show my respect for him and his beliefs and to show our solidarity as a couple. I secretly hoped he'd say yes. He responded by saying that no, I didn't have to...if I did, it'd be my choice, however he wanted me to understand why it is worn. He quoted the Qur'an verses dealing with covering, and he sent me a brochure about hijab. After this, I began asking more q's, and the more I learned, the more I wanted to learn.

Finally, a year ago, I went to the local masjid, to speak with the Imam and his wife. I spoke with them for 2 hours, and they answered many of my q's. They gave me a Qur'an to read and some other books as well. I read through them, and checked out some more books at the campus library. After doing so much reading, I wanted to see what Jum'ah (Friday service) was like and how the prayer was performed. I called the Masjid in February 2009, and the Imam's wife told me I could come to Jum'ah that Friday. I went, not knowing really what to expect. The sisters there were so warm and welcoming. I really enjoyed it. I began going every Friday. By the beginning of March, I wanted to take my shahadah (proclamation of faith), however I was scared...so many unknowns. Would I be a good Muslim? Would I be able to learn the prayers? How would my family and friends react? Would they be upset? Would I be harassed for wearing the hijab? Finally, I realized that becoming Muslim by doing the shahadah was something I NEEDED to do; I just knew that this was Allah's (SWT) plan for me.

So, on 20 March 2009, I became Muslim. It is the best decision I have ever made in my life. I truly believe that Allah (SWT) guided me to Islam and I am forever grateful for this blessing. Alhamdulilah! (Praise be to Allah)

When I told my fiance that I took shahadah, he was so surprised and pleased. He never expected me to ever revert since he knew my stance early on re: religion in general. All he could say was "Alhamdulilah! Masha'Allah!" (Praise be to Allah! As Allah has willed!)

So, now here I am..a new Muslimah of only 6 months, and I love this deen! (Way of life/religion). I thank Allah (SWT) during every prayer for guiding me to Islam and for giving me this opportunity to worship him.


07 October 2009

Allahu Akbar!!!

Asalaamu alaikum....

Allahu akbar!!! Alhamdulilah!! SubhanAllah!!! (Allah is Great!!! Praise be to Allah!! Glory to Allah!!!)

I received wonderful news a week ago, masha'Allah (as Allah willed). For those that are unfamiliar with Islam and the blessed month of Ramadan....let me give you a little info. Ramadan is the 9th month of the lunar calendar, and is the month the Qur'an was first revealed to Prophet Muhammad (SAW). It is commanded of us, by Allah (SWT) to fast during this month...to learn self-restraint and to remember to be thankful to Allah (SWT) for all that He gives us and the many blessings we have, alhamdulilah. It is also a month of giving 'zakat' (charity). Just as fasting helps us remember to be thankful for what we have, we give to help others that are less-fortunate than ourselves.


I attend Jum'ah services on Fridays at the local Masjid, but sometimes I have to take a cab 'cuz I don't have my own vehicle (I do, but it doesn't work) and I can't always borrow my stepdad's truck (depends on what shift he's working that week). Two Fridays ago, I took a cab there, but a sister gave me ride home afterward...I told her that she saved me $6 and some change in cab fare. lol She was surprised it cost that much since I don't live that far away.

So, the following day, the sister called me and says..."I've been trying to find a way to help you out, ever since you first began coming to Jum'ah. I spoke to my husband, and he spoke to brother Muhammad, and there is another brother at the Masjid that is a mechanic. He's going to look at your van, and then we're going to use the zakat money to pay to get your van fixed. This will be our gift to you for Ramadan." I was floored!!!

Allahu akbar!!! May Allah (SWT) bless and reward this sister and the brothers for their kindness and generosity, Ameen.

I just had to share this great news here. Allah (SWT) is the best of planners and He is Great! Alhamdulilah!!


What is "shirk" in Islam?

Asalaamu alaikum...

This information I am sharing with you today, regarding "shirk" is coming from the book I've been reading, "50 New Righteous and Humane Aspects Brought by Muhammad (SAW)."

"Shirk" basically means a form of polytheism. But, in Islam, this comes in many forms, and many things can be considered shirk and we may not even realize it. A lot of it has to do with our "Americanized" way of thinking. For example, in Islam, men are not really supposed to wear gold because it can make someone too proud, and it's like they are showing off...almost like making themselves into a minor "god," ...like saying "look at me, look what I have." In Islam, that is a form of shirk. So, this is just one example.

However, I really want to focus on Christianity and how Christians really practice "shirk" and don't realize it, and which is why Islam is truly Monotheistic.

Here's what the book says....

The Old Testament rejects idol and image worship and commands that they should be completely destroyed. Here are two examples of the Old Testament forbidding the worship of images:

First: "3. Thou shalt have no other gods before me. 4. Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. 5. Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God" (Exodus 20:3-5).

Second: "But thus shall ye deal with them; ye shall destroy their alters, and break down their images, and cut down their groves, and burn their gaven images with fire" (Deut. 7:5).

The New Testament rejects idol and image worship as well:

First: "Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolators, nor adulterers, nor effinate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind" (1 Corinthians 6:9).

Yet, Christians worship images: Catholic and Orthodox Christians who have historically and still currently comprise the vast majority of Christians, erect statues in their churches, worship images and pray to icons, including that of Mary, calling her "The Mother of God."

Prophet Muhammad (SAW) once recited this ayah (verse) in the presence of 'Adi Ibn 'Hatim, who used to be Christian:

"They (Jews and Christians) took their rabbis and their monks to be their lords besides Allah, and (they also took as their Lord) Messiah, son of Maryam (Mary), while they were commanded (in the Torah and Gospel) to worship none but One God, none has the right to be worshiped but He. Praise and glory be to Him (far above is He) from having the partners they associate with Him" (Qur'an 9:31).

'Adi Ibn 'Hatim said, "O Allah's Messenger! They do not worship them (i.e rabbis and monks)." Prophet Muhammad (SAW) responded with:

"When they (rabbis and monks) made unlawful things as lawful, they (Jews and Christians) followed them, and when they (rabbis and monks) made lawful things as unlawful, they (Jews and Christians) followed them." (A Hasan hadith, Sahih at-Tirmidhi 3095).

What this means is that instead of following Allah's commands, they (the Jews and Christians) instead followed what the rabbis and monks said, as if they (the rabbis and monks) superceded Allah's commands!

The book continues...

(Re: Catholicism)...

Praying to the image of Mary is an inferior type of worship, so we are told. "We should pay to the angels and saints an inferior honor or worship, for this is due to them as the servants and special friends of God" (from The Catholic Encyclopedia vol VII, pg 670-672).

'Thou shalt not' became 'Thou shalt': 'Thou shalt not make thyself any graven image,' became "We should give to relics, crucifixes and holy pictures a relative honor; worship by no means implies only the supreme adoration that may be given only to God; we honor the prototype by honoring the sign; the figure of the sacred and life-giving Cross, as also the venerable and holy images...are to be placed suitably in the holy churches of God, on sacred vessels and vestments, on walls and pictures, in houses and by roads" (from The Catholic Encyclopedia).

Something must truly be said about Catholic principles concerning the worship of images: If, "Worship by no means implies only supreme adoration that mab be givein only to God. It is a general word denoting some more or less high degree of reverence and honor, an acknowledgment of worth. ...We do not pray to relics or images, for they can neither see nor hear nor help us." Then, why worship them at all since they can neither hear nor help?? Why not pray directly to and worship ONLY He Who Created them and everything else?

Idol-worshipers of earlier and latter generations give similar justification for their idol-worshiping: They claim that they worship the image because it reminds them of God, or of honorable or righteous persons. They claim that worshiping these objects also helps them draw close to the Creator.

The Catholic Church's rationale for erecting and worshiping images is strikingly similar to the rationale Arab idol-worshipers gave for erecting and worshiping idols: "The sign in itself is nothing, but it shares the honor of its prototype...we honor the prototype by honoring the sign. In this case all the outward marks of reverence, visibly directed towards the sign, turn in intention towards the real object of our reverence - the thing signified. The sign is only put UP as a visible direction for our reverence, because the real thing is not physically present. ... It is this relative worship that is to be paid to the cross, images of Christ and the saints, while the intention directs it all really to the persons these things represent" (The Catholic Encyclopedia).

A seemingly harmless innovation leads to utter polytheism: Arab idolaters from the past started with the idea of honoring righteous people by erecting idols depicting theirm images, under the pretext of remembering righteousness by looking at the images. instead, they ended up worshiping, praying to, adoring, serving and revering the images they erected.

Likewise, the vast majority of Christians erects images and pictures in their places of worship, streets and homes to remind them of the protoype, so they claim, but end up worshiping, adoring and praying to the images, relics and icons.

For instance, Christians (Catholics) pray to and invoke the image of Mary in their Holy Rosary, "Hail, Holy Queen, Mother of Mercy, our life, our sweetness, and our hope. To you do we cry poor banished children of Eve. To you do we send up our sighs, mourning and weeping in this valley of tears. Turn then, O most gracious advocate, your eyes of mercy toward us and after this our exile show unto us the blessed fruit of your womb, Jesus. O clement! O loving ! O sweet Virgin Mary! Pray for us, O Holy Mother of God. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ."

Allah (SWT) sent Prophet Muhammad (SAW) to convey to mankind the news that polytheism, including image and idol worship, is the greatest injustice, the gravest of all sins.

"And verily, if you ask them: 'Who created the heavens and the earth?' Surely, they will say: 'Allah.' Say: 'Tell me then, the things that you invoke besides Allah-- if Allah intended some harm for me, could they remove His harm? Or if He intended some mercy for me, could they withhold His Mercy?' Say: 'Sufficient for me is Allah, in Him those who trust, must put their trust" (Qur'an 39:38).

"Surely, the religion (the worship, the adoration, the obedience) is for Allah only. And those who take Auliya (protectors, helpers, lords, gods) besides Him say: 'We worship them only that they may bring us near to Allah.' Verily, Allah will judge between them concerning that wherein they differ. Truly, Allah guides not him who is a liar and a disbeliever" (Qur'an 39:3).

"And remember Abraham when he said to his people: 'Worship Allah Alone, and fear Him: that is better for you if you did but know. You worship besides Allah only idols, and you only invent falsehood. Verily, those whom you worship besides Allah have no power to give you provision, so seek your provision from Allah, and worship Him (Alone), and be grateful to Him. To Him (Alone) you will be brought back" (Qur'an 29:16-17).

Insh'Allah, this has been beneficial in some way to those that have read it. Please leave feedback....ask q's or suggest other topics you may want to learn about, insh'Allah.


Why is Islam so "backwards"??? (pt 2)

Asalaamu alaikum...

This is a continuation of the "Why is Islam so "Backwards"' post...

Sir Hamilton, the well-known English thinker and philosopher, stated in his book on Islam and Arab Civilization:

"The rules, regulations and verdicts concerning women in Islam are clear, frank and open. Islam capitalizes on the complete care that should be given to the protection of a woman against anything that may harm her personally, or cause ill-fame to her reputation or character."

Why are women forced into marriages?

In some countries this may occur...but it strictly goes AGAINST Islamic teachings. The Qur'an specifically states women are not to be married against their will. A marriage is NOT valid without the woman's permission, technically. What some countries do...that is CULTURAL and NOT Islam.

What about the arranged marriages?

Arranged marriages has a different meaning than what most non-Muslims realize. Yes, in Islam, "arranged marriages" are common...but this does not mean "forced marriages." There is a difference. Here is how it should work ideally (and yes, many Muslims don't follow this either...this just an ideal):

A parent meets a young man that they think will be suitable for their daughter. Who else knows their daughter's quirks and eccentricities than the parents, right? Usually, when we look for someone ourselves, we don't take into account our little personality quirks...but someone, like our parents, that live with us all our lives do notice those things and take those things into account, or should. Anyways...so the parents introduce the daughter to the man, and they have "sit-downs" (dating is a no-no is Islam...at least Western-style dating). Basically this means the woman and man sit and discuss all the things that are important to them in a relationship/marriage. The woman's wali must be present during any sit-down...again, this is to protect the woman's integrity and to protect her from being taken advantage of. Numerous sit-downs can occur, and anything that is important should be discussed. If they decide they are too different, they can choose not to see each other and not get married...and the search for a mate continues. If the decide to get married, then arrangements are made, and the man has to pay the wife-to-be a "mahr" (like a dowery...and it is HERS to keep; doesn't go to her parents).

This is the ideal way couples in Islam should meet. Of course, if a man and woman catches each other's eye, then they can ask for a sit-down as well. The person doesn't have to be chosen by the parents. My love and I joke that ours is an "arranged marriage" since his father is the one that introduced us.

Why can't women work?

We can work, but we are encouraged to stay home. Many see this as oppressive as well. However, it's not....instead, it's a mercy from Allah (SWT). Think about this...who does most of the housework, take care of the kids, and cook the meals even in American society? Usually the wife...and this is AFTER working all day. In Islam, it is recognized that doing the housework, etc IS a JOB in itself! So, why make the woman have to work TWO jobs while the man only works one?? That is hardly fair! Ideally (again, this doesn't always happen, esp with our economy), IF a woman works, whatever money she earns is hers to keep to spend how she wants...instead of on bills. That hardly seems oppressive to me. And, even Prophet Muhammad (SAW) helped with the chores in the home. And, since we should be following his example, then men SHOULD be helping out around the house as well, actually. Prophet Muhammad (SAW) told his companions that the best among them are the ones that are best to their wife.

If Islam is so woman-friendly, then why can men beat their wives?

Many people take the verse in the Qur'an out of context. There are stages that should occur in working out a problem in a marriage. First and foremost, it says in the Qur'an that they should try to talk things out. If the wife is still doing something wrong (and when I say "wrong," I mean something that is major; i.e. drinking, which is prohibited in Islam), then he can turn her away from the bed...make her sleep on the couch, to show his displeasure. As a very last resort, he can "tap" her....but NEVER in the face, and never do her harm...it's more of a way to show, again, their displeasure the wife's actions. In another hadith (saying/actions of Prophet Muhammad), a man asked Prophet Muhammad what should he "hit" his wife with if it gets to that point, and the Prophet (SAW) said "with this" and he held up his toothbrush. Seriously...what kinda damage can be done with a toothbrush?! It was the Prophet's (SAW) way of showing that harm really should not be done. And, again...we should follow his examples, and he NEVER hit any of his wives.

Why can men have more than 1 wife?

In Islam, polygyny (having more than one wife) is allowed...HOWEVER...he can only marry up to 4 wives. And the major stipulation to it is he HAS to treat them equally and justly. Not too many guys can do that, esp in this economy. Actually, less than 2% of Muslims practice polygyny. And, what many do not understand is that it was allowed as a mercy to women.

In Islam, as I stated above, men are to provide for the women. However, women tend to outlive men (due to illness, accidents, and war). So, why should all the single or widowed women be alone? Polygyny was allowed so that those women would have someone to provide for them and to love them. It was a mercy for them. Also, in the instance when the wives get along (I know, doesn't always happen, but it does sometimes), they can help each other out with housework, raising the children, or taking care of the husband if he gets sick.

If Islam is so peaceful, why all the terrorists?

First, think about this...there are over a billion Muslims in this world...if Islam really taught violence and terrorism...there'd be A LOT more terroristic acts (or attempts) occurring. The fact is, those that commit such violence is really a small fraction of "Muslims."

The issue of "terrorism" was pretty much addressed in my "Islam Information" blog post. The actions of terrorists go directly AGAINST Islamic teachings. The Qur’an states:

“Fight in the cause of Allah those who fight you, but do not transgress limits; for Allah loves not transgressors” (Qur'an 2:190).

This means if Muslims are oppressed (i.e. not allowed to practice their religion or being forced out of their homes), they are allowed to fight back. However... the Qur’an further tells Muslims:

“But if the enemy incline towards peace, do thou (also) incline towards peace, and trust in Allah: for He is One that hears and knows (all things)” (Qur'an 8:61).

And Prophet Muhammad had commanded “Do not kill any old person, any child or any woman,” “Do not kill the monks in monasteries,” or “Do not kill the people who are sitting in places of worship."

In the case of war, we're not to kill non-combatants...obviously, terrorists are going against this ruling. Also, in Islam, suicide is "haram" (unlawful)....and yet, many of the terrorists are "suicide bombers"...another action that goes AGAINST Islamic teachings. So, really, anyone that is a terrorist but is claiming to be committing such acts "in the name of Allah" or Islam...are VERY misguided, to say the least.

That about covers everything that I can think of. If there are any additional issues that you wish to better understand, feel free to please let me know and I will do my best to address them. Insh'Allah, this has been beneficial in some way. Jazak'Allah khairn for taking the time to read this blog.


Why is Islam so "backwards"??? (pt 1)

Asalaamu alaikum...

Many people believe that Islam is "backwards" and/or oppressive of women. However, nothing could be further from the truth. So, in this blog post, I am going to attempt to respond to those things that ppl consider "backwards" and explain the reasons for them....and insh'Allah, you will see how beneficial and freeing the rules are instead of seeing them as oppressive.

The very first thing I wish to address is the "hijab" (headscarf) and "niqab" (face veil). Many non-Muslims think the hijab is oppressive...but in reality, it is liberating. It is commanded by Allah (SWT) in the Qur'an that women should cover themselves:

"O Prophet! Tell thy wives and daughters, and the believing women, that they should cast their outer garments over their persons (when out): that is most convenient, that they should be known (as such) and not molested. And Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful" (Qur'an 33:59).

The main reason I wear hijab is for the sake of Allah (SWT)...He commanded it, and He knows what is best for me, better than I do, so therefore I submit to His will. According to this verse, the hijab has a dual purpose....one is so that the women can be identified as Muslim; and secondly to protect the woman.

The first aspect....being noticed as a Muslim. For me, being recognized as a Muslim gives me the opportunity to give "da'wah" (education on Islam/invitation to Islam). I have had many non-Muslims ask me about the hijab out of genuine curiosity. This gives me the chance to educate them a bit on Islam, alhamdulilah!

The second part of the ayah (verse)...protection. In American society, women are sexualized and objectified way too much. So many women concern themselves with how attractive they are....they have to have the make-up; the hair done right; the sexy clothes; be thin...etc. It's sad. We should not be judging ourselves based on how we look...but rather our intelligence and personality should be more important. Many women in American society are anorexic/bulimic; or have body dysmorphic disorder (where they hate their body). And not only are we judging ourselves...but men are judging us as well. As my fiance once pointed out, when a woman is walking down the street in skin-tight jeans or short shorts; tight shirt; hair done; make-up done...the first thought that enters his mind is NOT a positive one. Wearing the hijab is our way of demanding ppl judge us on our intellect and personality and not on the shape of our body. It's showing respect for ourselves and demanding respect from others. It's unfortunate that there are Muslim women that do not cover...esp new Muslimahs. Usually it's due to prejudice they face from family, non-Muslim friends, job, etc. How sad it is that in this country it is more acceptable for a woman to dress provocatively, and in some cases practically nude (i.e at the beach), but when a woman wants to dress modestly, she is seen as "strange."

Another benefit that I've gained since wearing hijab is that it serves as a reminder, for myself, that Allah (SWT) is All-Knowing; All-Seeing, and so therefore I should be aware of my speech and actions at all time.

Some say people have the mistaken belief that hijab is only for women and that men are free to do as they please. Men in Islam are also governed by rules on how they should dress and present themselves, esp in front of women. And, the Qur'an tells both men and women to lower their gaze:

"Say to the believing men that they should lower their gaze and guard their modesty: that will make for greater purity for them: And Allah is well acquainted with all that they do" (Qur'an 24:30).

So, it's not just women that have to dress modestly, but so do men.

As for the niqab...the face veil...there is debate in the Islamic community on whether it is "fard" (obligatory) or "sunnah" (optional). The majority of people believe it is optional, and this is my stance as well. Based on a hadith (saying/actions of Prophet Muhammad, SAW) where he was approached by the daughter of Abu Bakr (his best friend): ‘A’isha (Prophet Muhammad's wife) said: Asma’, daughter of Abu Bakr, entered upon the Apostle of Allah (May peace be upon him) wearing thin clothes. The Apostle of Allah (peace be upon him) turned his attention from her. He said: O Asma’, when a woman reaches the age of menstruation, it does not suit her that she displays her parts of body except this and this, and he pointed to her face and hands.

Some women choose to wear the niqab...as I have recently begun doing. Each woman has their individual reasons, I'm sure...but for me, first and foremost, I wear it for the sake of Allah (SWT). In our society, men are not taught to lower their gaze as the Qur'an commands them to do. So, since they don't lower their gaze, I will cover myself completely. I love wearing my niqab.

Lastly, on the issue of hijab, the Qur'an tells us not to show our "adornments":

"And say to the believing women that they should lower their gaze and guard their modesty; that they should not display their beauty and ornaments except what (must ordinarily) appear thereof; that they should draw their veils over their bosoms and not display their beauty except to their husbands, their fathers, their husband's fathers, their sons, their husbands' sons, their brothers or their brothers' sons, or their sisters' sons..." (Qur'an 24:31).

Basically, this means we should save our beauty for only our families and our husbands...as a gift, almost. To me, that is one of the most romantic things ever, masha'Allah.

Here is a funny video from Baba Ali on Hijab:

Okay...next thing...why can't the women pray with the men?

Why women pray separately from the men....this was one of the first q's (after the inquiry into hijab) that I asked. I thought this was very unfair. However...once it was explained, it made so much sense. In most Masjids women either pray in a separate area than the men, or at the least pray behind the men. When we pray in Islam, we literally bow and prostrate ourselves before Allah (SWT). That means our rear-ends are up in the air. The last thing I want is some guy checking out my behind during prayer when he should be focused on worshiping Allah (SWT)! Both Masjids I attend, the women have a separate area altogether where we listen to the sermon and pray. I, personally, like this much better. It makes it easier for me to concentrate on the sermon and to focus during prayer...instead of worrying about someone making googley eyes at me. I've heard ppl tell men to "go to church" to find a nice woman....astighfirullah (Allah forgive me)! They should be going to church to worship God...not find a woman!! All the more reason for me to appreciate the separate areas in the Masjid for men and women. Also...recently there was an article that said that 33% of women said they were approached (inappropriately) by a leader of their church....another thing that I can almost guarantee never (or nearly never) happens in Islam because we are kept separate.

(Here's the link to the article: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn...l?hpid=topnews )

If the Imam does, for some reason, want to talk to a sister about an issue (i.e. a fundraiser), there are always other brothers and sisters around....this way the chance of anything like that occurring is slim.

Why shouldn't men and women "inter-mingle" freely?

This was an issue that I didn't understand at first when I became Muslim, and I kinda didn't really pay attention to the ruling so-to-speak. Before I reverted to Islam, the majority of my friends were males....I never got along with females too well.

However...there are many examples that keep showing up in my life (well, the lives of those I know) that show me more and more why we should strive to follow this ruling.

This vid gives a great example of why we shouldn't inter-mingle freely (and it's funny):

Even in situations where the female thinks "oh, he's like a brother to me," typically the man has other motives in mind...and often (not always) they will eventually tell you that they "love" you and an awkward situation occurs....or worse yet, "mistakes" end up happening that ppl don't intend for...i.e. sleeping with them. Then ppl are filled with regret.

Think about this...in our country, the divorce rate is 50% of all marriages!! Often one spouse or the other is cheating! This is what I see occurring in many ppl's lives around me.

Another reason we shouldn't mix freely is to protect the woman's integrity. You know how it is....you see a woman and man whispering somewhere, and what is automatically assumed?? They could be talking about calculus for all ya know. So, to avoid from ppl talking negatively about a sister (or from preventing a man LYING about a sister...'cuz you know that happens too; some men will say they slept with a woman, or whatnot, even tho it never occurred), we should not mix freely, and if we are talking with someone of the opposite gender, the female's wali (male Muslim relative) should be pesent, to protect her integrity, and to prevent the other male from taking advantage of her.

Contrary to what people think, Islam holds women in HIGH regard!! There is a hadith that says a man asked Prophet Muhammad (SAW) who should he respect the most, and he was told his mother; then the guy asks "who next?" and is told "your mother;" and the guy asks a third time "who next?" and Prophet Muhammad (SAW) says "your mother;" and when the guy says "who next?" again, finally he is told "then your father." Islam is all about protecting the women, and making sure they are provided for.

Okay, this is much longer than I anticipated it would be, so I am breaking this up into two blog posts. Insh'Allah, this has been beneificial.


06 October 2009

Islam Information

Asalaamu alaikum...I did a research paper in my English 102 class last semester on Islam. I wrote it because of some q's from some of my classmates that let it be known that there was a great deal of misunderstanding re: Islam.

I have decided to share it here for anyone interested in learning more about Islam. I will include my Works Cited page as well.
*Warning, it is quite long*

Why Islam?
There are between 5 and 7 million Muslims in America (Garamone, Islam Growing in America, U.S. Military). An estimated twenty-five percent of American Muslims are reverts to Islam, meaning they followed a different religion (or no religion at all) before following Islam (Elliott). Approximately seven thousand of the reverts each year are women (Malhotra). Islam is the most racially diverse religion in America (Younis). With these numbers, one would think that Islam would be better understood by society as a whole. However, Islam is misunderstood in America due in part to the media, but the Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA), along with other Islamic organizations, is trying to change the negative perception of Islam.

One of the ways that ICNA is trying to change the views of Islam is by conducting a “Why Islam” bus and train ad campaign in numerous major cities in the United States. Large rectangular ads are being placed on the sides of busses and trains, each ad containing a few words, such as “You deserve to know” and “Islam: Submission to God.” The ads also contain a phone number for people to call and a website for people to visit, in order to gain more information on Islam (ICNA's Dawah Efforts, 2009). The purpose of the ad is to give those unfamiliar with Islam a chance to learn the truth about Islam instead of what the media wishes to depict. Another way that ICNA tries to teach non-Muslims about Islam is through the use of “Da’wah Booths.” Da’wah means to teach or invite someone to Islam by giving them knowledge about Islam. The Da’wah Booths are set up in various cities throughout the U.S. as well, and Muslims at the booths pass out pamphlets, Qur’ans, and share other general knowledge with people that ask. ICNA’s website also has a lot of useful information for non-Muslims, along with the opportunity to order free brochures. The website even has an area where a person can read and/or listen to the Qur’an.

When educating others about Islam, there are some questions that non-Muslims ask the most frequently. These questions include:

1. What is jihad?
2. Why do Muslim women wear the headscarf?
3. Why are Muslim women not allowed to work/go to school, etc?
4. What does one have to do to become Muslim?
5. What are the Five Pillars of Islam?

First, let’s look at what “Islam” means, and what Muslims, in general, believe. The word “Islam” comes from the root word “s-l-m” which means “peace” in Arabic. “Islam” actually means to obtain peace by submitting ones will to God (Smith 12). The word “Muslim” also comes from the root word “s-l-m” and refers to the person that submits his or her will to Allah (Islam Explained, 2009). Of course, “Allah” is the Arabic term for “God” and is used by Arab Christians as well as Muslims. Some people think that Muslims worship some sort of moon god, this is completely false. Islam is truly a monotheistic religion, meaning Muslims believe in, and worship only one god, that is Allah. Qur’an 112 states “He is Allah, the One and Only, Allah the Eternal, the Absolute. He begot none, nor is He begotten, and there is none like Him.” Muslims believe in all of the prophets, to include, but not limited to: Abraham, Noah, Moses, Lot, Isaac, and even Jesus. One of the main differences between Islam and Christianity is that Muslims consider Jesus a prophet of Allah, not the Son of God, as Christians do, hence strictly believing in and worshipping only Allah. Muslims believe that Allah will hold each person accountable on the Day of Judgment, and that Heaven and Hell exist (Articles of Faith, 2009).

As it may have been noticed, the word “revert” has been used in place of “convert” in this paper. The reason for the term “revert” is that Muslims believe that all people and things are created to submit to Allah’s will. Even if a person does not believe in any religion, the body is still submitting to Allah’s will by the very nature of how the body works- the heart pumps, the lungs expand, etc. Therefore, even if a person does not believe in Allah, a part of that person is still Muslim, hence, when a person does decide to follow Islam, they are then reverting back to what he or she originally is (Emerick, Can you Stand on One Leg? 26).

Jihad is probably the most misunderstood term by non-Muslims. Many people believe
“jihad” means “holy war,” however “jihad” actually means “struggle.” There are many different forms of “jihad” in Islam, but the most common form is “jihad al-nafs,” which means to struggle against oneself; against one’s desires or personal character defects, such as tardiness. Another form of jihad is economic jihad which is spending money to help the community or the poor, even if it would be a hardship on the person spending the money. There is physical jihad as well, however this sort of jihad is a last resort, and there are many strict rules that must apply when conducting physical jihad. The first rule being that physical jihad can only be declared when a people’s freedoms are being oppressed (Why Islam FAQ's). The Qur’an states “Fight in the cause of Allah those who fight you, but do not transgress limits; for Allah loves not transgressors” (Qur'an 2:190). What this verse means is that if a person oppresses a Muslim, that Muslim has the right to fight the oppressors, however, the Muslim must follow the rules of Islam and not transgress the limits. What are some of the rules? Prophet Muhammad had commanded “Do not kill any old person, any child or any woman,” “Do not kill the monks in monasteries,” or “Do not kill the people who are sitting in places of worship” (Why Islam FAQ's). However, the Qur’an further tells Muslims “But if the enemy incline towards peace, do thou (also) incline towards peace, and trust in Allah: for He is One that hears and knows (all things)” (Qur'an 8:61). Last but not least, there is a great list of comparisons between physical jihad and terrorism on the “Why Islam” website:

“1. Jihad can be launched only by an established authority as a policy in order to deter aggression. Terrorism, on the other hand, is committed by individuals or groups that have no legitimacy to speak for the majority. When terrorism is committed by states, it usually depends on misleading the masses.
2. Jihad is limited to combatants while terrorism involves indiscriminate killing of civilians.
3. Jihad, when the need arises, is declared openly, while terrorism is committed secretly.
4. Jihad is bound by strict rules of engagement while terrorism is not bound by any rules” (Why Islam FAQ's).

One more thing that should be added to the list: suicide in Islam is forbidden; yet many of the terrorist attacks are “suicide bombings.”

Obviously, the fact that the terrorists are often committing suicide in the process shows that the terrorists are acting completely against Islamic teachings (Emerick, The Rules of War 174-175).

Another common misperception that non-Muslims have of Islam is that women are oppressed. Perhaps this can be true in certain countries, however what non-Muslims fail to realize is that there is a difference between the religion of Islam and what some people practice culturally. Just because a Christian, or a group of Christians, do something awful, such as the Nazis in Germany did, does not mean all Christians believe or do the same thing. Same can be said for Muslims.

The first issue that comes up when discussing the oppression of Muslim females is the headscarf or “hijab” and the face veil, also known as the “niqab.” Muslims believe that the Qur’an was revealed to Prophet Muhammad by Allah (God), and the Qur’an states “O Prophet, tell your wives and daughters, and the believing women, that they should cast their outer garments over their persons (when out of doors), that is most convenient, that they should be known (as such) and not molested. And Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful” (Quran 33:59). There are different interpretations of this verse, however it is generally agreed that at the least, Muslim women need to be covered, except the face and hands, when in front of men that are not family. The first, and foremost reason most Muslim women wear hijab is because it is believed to have been commanded by Allah. In Islam, Muslims also follow “hadiths” which are sayings or actions of Prophet Muhammad, as he was the one to show how the Qur’an was to be implemented into the Muslim’s daily life (Islam Explained, 2009). In one hadith, Prophet Muhammad’s wife “Ayesha, reported that Asma’ the daughter of Abu Bakr came to the Messenger of Allah while wearing thin clothing. He approached her and said: 'O Asma’! When a girl reaches the menstrual age, it is not proper that anything should remain exposed except this and this. He pointed to the face and hands" (Haddad). There are some Muslim women that do not cover their hair, for different reasons. In America, the most common reason is due to discrimination. Many Muslim women in America get stares or rude comments made when they decide to wear the hijab in public. For some Muslim women, it is difficult to obtain work while wearing hijab. It is truly sad that in American society, women have gotten so accustomed to wearing less clothing, and that a Muslim woman should be made to feel uncomfortable for wearing more clothing. Truly, what most consider as oppressive, is really a form of liberation. In American society, women are sexualized so much. In Islam, the reason for covering is to protect the Muslim woman’s modesty and dignity. The Muslim woman is free to be known and accepted for their knowledge and personality first, instead of the woman’s physical appearance. Think about this, when a man sees a woman walking down the street in short shorts and a tank top, what is the first thought that will most likely enter the man’s mind? Will the initial thought be a positive one? Doubtful. The hijab can also be used as a form of da’wah. If a non-Muslim sees a Muslim woman with the hijab, it may prompt curiosity on the non-Muslim’s part, and the non-Muslim may either talk to the Muslim woman or do some research. One final thought on the hijab, Catholic nuns wear the habit, and are seen as being pious and devout in their religion and society does not question the nuns; so why is it any different when a Muslim woman wears the hijab?

The “niqab” or face veil is considered by most Muslims as optional. There are many women that choose to wear the niqab. Some feel that the Qur’an’s interpretation means that niqab should be worn. In Islam, the Muslim woman is preserving her beauty for her husband and family only, instead of having to display it for the world to see. Some believe that the woman’s beauty includes their face, hence the reason for niqab. Other Muslim women wear it because they get tired of the lustful gaze of unknown men. One Muslim woman I know stated that even while wearing hijab, dressing modestly and wearing her wedding ring, men would still try to ask her out. By wearing niqab, men stopped approaching this Muslim woman.

There are other areas that people think Muslim women are oppressed. Just to clarify: Muslim women are encouraged to get an education. It is part of Islam that all Muslims seek education, not just the men. One hadith states that Prophet Muhammad said “Seeking ‘Ilm (knowledge) is incumbent on every Muslim” (Virtues of Knowledge). Some of the greatest Muslim scholars have been women (Why Islam FAQ's). Any Muslim person or country that forbids the Muslim women from getting an education is actually going against the teachings of Islam. Muslim women are allowed to drive. Some countries, perhaps, do not allow Muslim women to drive for various reasons (i.e. niqab being a barrier to peripheral vision), however, nowhere in the Qur’an or any Islamic teachings does it say that Muslim women cannot drive. Again, there is a difference between culture and religion. Muslim women are not to be forced into marriage. Does it happen? Yes, unfortunately, however this strictly goes against Islam. The Qur’an specifically states “O you who believe, you are forbidden to inherit women against their will” (Quran 4:19). Muslim women can work, however it is encouraged that the Muslim woman stay home. Some people may think that by encouraging the Muslim woman to stay home is oppressive, but it is seen as a mercy granted by Allah to Muslim women. Even in American society today, it is typically the woman that takes care of the children, cooks the meals, and cleans the house, and this is after working all day long. Technically, the woman has two jobs, one in the home and one outside the home. Islam recognizes the fact that taking care of children, cooking, and taking care of the home is a job in and of itself, and so it is seen as a mercy that women are not expected to take on a second job outside of the home, unless the woman chooses to. If the woman does choose to work, in Islam, whatever money the woman earns is hers to keep, to spend as the woman sees fit (Emerick, Looking at Women in Islam 251-253). The idea of a woman working only if she chooses to, and then being able to keep her own money to spend as she wants, hardly seems oppressive.

In actuality, Islam gives women more rights. Prior to Islam, women were seen as property of their husbands; women were not allowed to own property or to receive inheritance. Often, female babies would be murdered because males were preferred. Women were forced into marriages against their will. Islam granted women rights that they never had before. In Islam, women were given the right to own property and to gain inheritance. It was prohibited to kill female babies and to force women into marriage (Emerick, Looking at Women in Islam 251-253). It could be said that Prophet Muhammad was like the first feminist.

Islam consists of “Five Pillars” or acts of faith that all Muslims perform. The first is “shahadah” or proclamation of faith. This statement is how a person becomes Muslim in the first place, and all shahadah consists of is believing and stating the simple phrase “La ilaha il-Allah, Muhammad-ur-Rasul-Alllah” meaning “There is no god but Allah, and Muhammad is His messenger.” This phrase is repeated every day by Muslims, during every prayer, which happens to be the second pillar. Salah, or prayer, is obligatory for all Muslims, and takes place five times a day at specific times. Each salah includes a repetition of the first chapter of the Qur’an, along with the shahadah. Salah encompasses standing, bowing, and prostration to Allah. The purpose of praying five times a day is so that the Muslim can pause from all that is going on in the world around him or her, and take time to focus on what is truly important; Allah. The third pillar of Islam is zakat (means “purification” and “growth” in Arabic), or giving charity. It is proscribed that each Muslim gives 2.5% of one’s total annual capital (Five Pillars of Islam). Even when a Muslim has nothing to give, smiling at another Muslim is considered a form of charity. The fourth pillar of Islam is fasting during the month of Ramadan, which in 2009, begins on August 22. Fasting, or sawm, lasts from dawn until sundown, and includes food, drink, smoking, and abstaining from sexual acts/thoughts, violence, backbiting, use of vulgar language, etc. By fasting, Muslims become more thankful to Allah for the things that they have (Five Pillars of Islam). The Qur’an says “O you who believe! Fasting is ordained for you as it was ordained for those before you, so that you might remain conscious of God” (Quran 2:183). Also, by fasting, the Muslim is more apt to help another person in need of food because the Muslim will remember what it was like to be hungry. Some people are exempted from the fast, such as the elderly or the ill. If the illness is not great, then the Muslim must make up the missed days at a later time when he or she is no longer ill. However, Muslims that cannot fast at all (due to terminal illness, or are too old) are to feed one hungry person per day of the fast that the Muslim was unable to complete. The last pillar is hajj, or the pilgrimage to Mecca. Every adult Muslim is expected to make the trip to Mecca at least once during his or her lifetime. The exception is for the Muslims that are unable to financially afford such a trip, or that are ill. During hajj, all Muslims wear simple garments, so that there is no division between class and culture, because in Islam, all Muslims are equal before Allah (Five Pillars of Islam).

In 1893, one of the first American reverts to Islam, Muhammad Alexander Russell Webb, gave a speech at the World’s Parliament of Religions in Chicago. Mr. Webb was the only Muslim speaker at the conference in Chicago. At the end of the speech, Mr. Webb told the audience, “In closing, I want to say this: that there is no system that has been so willfully and persistently misrepresented as Islam, both by writers of so-called history and by the newspaper press” (Webb 41). It is sad that, over a hundred years later, America is plagued with the same problem that Mr. Webb spoke of, the problem of the misrepresentation of Islam. Hopefully, with the help of organizations like ICNA, slowly Islam will become better understood by non-Muslim Americans.

Works Cited

Ali, Abdullah Yusuf. The Meanings of the Illustrious Qur'an. Brooklyn, NY: Al Arqam Dawa Center, 2004.

"Articles of Faith." 2009. Why Islam. 7 Aug 2009. Elliott, Andrea. "In a Suspicious U.S., Muslim
Converts Find Discrimination." 30 Apr 2005. New York Times. 6 Aug 2009

"Can you Stand on One Leg?" Emerick, Yahiya. The Idiot's Guide to Understanding Islam. Indianapoplis, IN: Alpha Books, 2002. 26.

"Looking at Women in Islam." Emerick, Yahiya. The Idiot's Guide to Understanding Islam. Indianapolis, IN: Alpha Books, 2002. 251-253.

"The Rules of War." Emerick, Yahiya. The Idiot's Guide to Understanding Islam. Indianapolis, IN: Alpha Books, 2002. 174-175.

"Five Pillars of Islam." 2009. Why Islam. 5 Aug 2009.

Garamone, Jim. "Islam Growing in America, U.S. Military." 4 Oct 2001. U.S. Department of Defense. 5 Aug 2009.

Haddad, G. F. "The Veil in Islam." 15 Mar 2003. Living Islam. 7 Aug 2009.

"ICNA's Dawah Efforts." 2009. Islamic Circle of North America. 6 Aug 2009

"Islam Explained." 2009. Why Islam. 6 Aug 2009.

Malhotra, Priya. "Islam's Female Converts." 16 Feb 2002. The True Religion. 6 Aug 2009.

Smith, Huston. "Islam." Inside Islam. New York: Marlowe & Company, 2002. 12.

"Virtues of Knowledge." 10 Jun 2009. University of Leicester Islamic Society. 6 Aug 2009

Webb, Muhammad Alexander Russell. "The Spirit of Islam." Islam in North America: A
Sourcebook. New York : Garland Publishing, 1992. 41.

"Why Islam FAQ's." 2009. Why Islam. 5 Aug 2009.