Browsing "islam op-eds"
Mar 5, 2010 - islam op-eds    12 Comments

In Remembrance of Sr. Aminah Assilmi


Sr. Aminah Assilmi died today in a sudden car accident. Inna lillah wa inna ilaihi rajeoon. She was 65 and had been ill a few years ago but had been doing much better recently. She died instantly I read. SubhanAllah, indeed it is true we do not know when or how any of us will be called back Home. I heard the news this evening and my mind immediately flashed back to all my memories of her.

I was a teenager in a MYNA camp when I first heard her speak. She walked up mature and elegant, wearing a long skirt outfit and fully wrapped Hijab. A convert to Islam she always told us funny anecdotes and stories about being Muslim. She would then pause while we laughed and go on to give us the teaching point. When I was in MSA we invited her a few times to the Northeast to speak. Usually the topic was something like ‘Behind the Veil’ or ‘Myths of Women in Islam’. She always spoke well and was very equal to answering any obnoxious questions or debating any ‘feminists’ in the audience who felt they knew better. I never knew her to turn anyone away from speaking to her. She had the same quality of the Prophet (saw) where if she was speaking to you, you felt like you were her most prized best friend in the world. She always took the time out to talk to ‘us girls’ and remembered us whenever we met.

In years since MSA, I would see her less and less often at ISNAs and ICNAs and other events. She had been ill for a long time I believe and I’d seen her in a wheelchair for a number of years. About two years ago I received an email that asked for help for Sister Aminah. She had lost her home and income and needed help. She’d been living on campgrounds because she had nowhere else to go. I remember even posting this to others, and I really thought I had sent her some money to help. But I’ve since checked and in the hurry of everyday life I did not.

This past 4th of July ISNA I met Sister Aminah again and we reminsced a little and she talked about organizing a retreat for Muslim women. I told her a little about our retreat in upstate New York and she gave me her card. I asked if we could take a picture together and she happily smiled and put her arms around me wearing the biggest, pinkest sunhat I’d ever seen.


In the 90s we were a generation that was raised in Islamic camps, conferences and university lecture halls. Our parents were Imam Siraj Wahaj, Sh. Hamza Yusuf, Imam Zaid Shakir, Jamal Badawi, Abdullah Idris, Ahmad Sakr, Sheema Khan, Haroon Sellars, Saffet Catovic, Abdullah Adhami, Aminah Assilimi… so many well known names that we heard from over and over again. Teaching us, inspiring us, motivating us. Trying so hard to give us an identity. Today, I can’t even remember all the long-forgotten names. But they made us the strong Muslims we are today. In fact, I can’t even imagine where we would be without them.

Yet when their time of need came and comes, we are not there for them. How many people received the email forward asking for help for Sister Aminah and did nothing (myself included). :( How many people have received the calls for help for Imam Siraj’s cancer treatment and have donated anything to help. We would be lost and astray without them, yet we are not willing to give back.

I’m reminded of another great man who died on the steps of a nursing home; alone and penniless. Abdullah Yusuf Ali, from whom millions of English speaking Muslims have benefited. Yet he too died alone with no help from the Muslim Community.

I was unable to help Sister Aminah in life, but I am determined to help her in death and also promise to help my ‘other parents’ when they are in need inshaAllah.

May Allah have mercy on sister Aminah, give Shifaa to her son and patience to her family. May Allah reward her for all her Dawah work for the benefit of the Ummah (she was truly a da’iah for Allah) and enter her into Jannah.



Jan 8, 2010 - islam op-eds    14 Comments

Dear ‘Muslim’ Terrorist,

Dear ‘Muslim’ Terrorist,

A letter to a would-be terrorist.

What exactly did you think you’d be gaining? Like for real, did you think your name would be up in lights? Did you think people would think you’re the savior of the Muslim world or something? Did you think you were correcting all the injustices against Muslims in the world or even avenging them?

No you’re rather pathetic. First of all you did not think at all when you ‘concocted’ your stupid plan. Did you even bother to read about what Islam said about the issue? Yeah, don’t bother reading some lone crazy Fatwa someone like you with wack ideas and has no backing came up with. But did you even bother to ask a single real scholar of Islam? Like the hundreds and thousands of mainstream Islamic scholars out there. –Guess what they say– That killing innocent people is Haram. Wow didn’t get that bulletin did you. What’s that you say, the whole world is against Islam, so it’s ok to kill indiscriminately. Yeah so why don’t you just kill yourself then (somewhere alone). You know why. Yes, it’s because killing yourself is also Haram in Islam!! Life is sacred in Islam and belongs to God, not people! Yet you still dare to go against that and do it to others?!

Anyways I just don’t get it. These young “Muslim” guys had so much going for them. They could have done so much to change society and the world around them. To spread the real message of Islam and justice. Justice does not come from violence. It doesn’t. Justice comes from change. Change in thought and ideas. And you cannot get this change by violence. Especially stupid plans like blowing up planes and killing innocent people.

Really, what did those five boys from Virginia get for traveling to Pakistan to supposedly join up with some ‘Jihad camp’.  Did they save the Muslim world? They destroyed five families and an entire community. What did the Ft. Hood shooter get? Nothing except probable torture and execution. Did he make a point? Besides that Muslims can’t be trusted anywhere. No he did not. The 7th July English bombers? The Mumbai bombers? Zip except a whole lot more problems for the Muslims in their countries. What did the ‘underwear’ bomber get. Nothing except a humiliating nickname and the same as above. Even if he had been successful what would he get? Nothing except a lot of hate. From every Muslim in the United States and every non-Muslim. Thanks a lot buddy. Every amount of progress we had made since Obama came into office just went down the toilet. What point were you trying to make again? No one has heard it because we now have to stand in line two hours more for every flight undergoing invasive full body scans at every airport thanks to you! Now every innocent person from 13 Muslim countries will endure more hardship because of you. Now every single person in Yemen (an entire country! and not even your country!) will suffer because of you.

This kind of “Jihad” just does not work. It does not help our brothers and sisters dying every day in Iraq and Afghanistan and Palestine and everywhere else. It just doesn’t. A terrorist might think they are bringing the oppression over there to the forefront of people’s minds here. But it’s actually just making them feel more justified. The “threat’ is what made them go over there in the first place and you are just adding more proof to their argument. Did the “vengeance” you caused make them sit down and chat about making things better for Muslims? Or did it allow them to cause more oppression?

How did the 9/11 terrorists help Muslims? By killing 3,000 innocent lives (which BTW included some Muslims) and then by causing the killing of hundreds of thousands of lives in Iraq and Afghanistan and Gaza. Yes, all justified by 9/11. Who is to blame if your action causes great tragedy and injustice. They might carry it out but it is YOU who caused it by your stupid wrong actions. You must understand, this is not a level playing field. It may be unfair, but Muslim blood is cheap. And others’ suffering causes them to seek vengeance upon us tenfold. Terrorism as a strategy does not work. It will never bring about the justice we are looking for.

See it’s like that movie Umar Mukhtar… the colonizers were there all raping/killing and the Muslim army captures two as prisoners and one of the Muslim soldiers wants to just kill them. He raises his gun and Umar Mukhtar puts his hands over the rifle and pushes it down. “We do not kill prisoners” (an Islamic principle), he says. Well “*They* do it to *us*!” is the answer. Umar Mukhtar says, “They” are not our *teachers*!

Do you see? They are not our teachers. See we EXPECT retartedness from them. We expect wrong and evil and oppression. This is expected in the world. A lot of people do not like justice or fairness or the way of life that is Islam. That is how it is. But how can we become them? How can we compromise our Deen taught to us by our beloved Prophet (s) and our Holy Quran. Can you imagine if you said to Muhammad (s):  Yeah they’re killing us so I’m just going to go over there and blow up a mall/plane/business full of innocent people… men, women, children, xtian, muslim or jew… doesn’t matter… it probably won’t even help our cause and just makes things worse…but who cares… i might be doing it out of revenge or because i’m depressed or messed up psychologically but hey…_I’m doing it for you._  Does that make any sense to you? Can you imagine what he (s) would say.

That you’re an idiot. Yes. Even worse… you are a person that does not think. And Islam, above many things, is especially a religion for those who think. We are taught to think about our actions and reactions and responses. That’s what it’s all about isn’t it? Actions = hereafter. Doing sins has a response, we’re accountable for it. The grave and dust is not the end of all things. “All this” means something. And one day we will see the truth of everything. So why didn’t you think? Why didn’t you think of the consequences? About whether or not you were actually helping Muslims? Why didn’t you think of better ways that can bring about change in this world? To show people what Islam is really about? To work on yourself first and become a better Muslim? To help the community around you and the larger Muslim community that is suffering… instead of making it suffer more? I mean can we not THINK as Muslims and come up with rational, real effective ways of helping Muslims overseas. Why can’t you do that instead of coming up with stupid irrational vigilante justice scenarios?

Some people sympathize with you because they think you had good intentions. ‘At least you are doing something to help the Muslim world.’ Wrong. Let’s talk about acceptability of an action in Islam. You need intention AND form. If your intention is good but your means are wrong then the action is invalid, not accepted and not rewardable. And if your means are wrong and cause more harm then that will reap only punishment. A terrorist who thinks he’s a martyr, is in the end just a terrorist.

I don’t even want to talk about what’s going on overseas. Killing Muslims left and right, blowing up Mosques, marketplaces, opposition leaders, a McDonalds in Karachi?? Really? Families eating at a McDonalds? I mean really? This is what you think will get you to Heaven? If a Muslim kills a Muslim one of them is not one. Who do you think God is going to choose: you or an old man who was praying in the Mosque? you or a little girl playing in the marketplace? Think!

Ok I’m done now. My anger is spent. It’s not even for myself. I expect this life not to be easy for a Muslim. We will have hardships and challenges and we will have to live through them and gain our resolve and fight for justice in *thinking* ways. And in the end we may have to wait for our justice in the Hereafter. But it just upsets me that you would damage the name of our beautiful Deen and the image of Muslims. Another crime in so many crimes, and yet you still think you’re in the right?

Sincerely, your friend and fellow Muslim (as long as you don’t turn into a terrorist),



P.S. – This is an excellent lecture from a scholar for you to watch called ‘Peace with the Environment’. Especially the question answered on terrorism at the end, watch from 4min.37s here and continue in the next part.

Dec 11, 2009 - islam op-eds    7 Comments

On ‘Muslim’ wife-abuse

Muslim Men Against Domestic Violence table at ISNA

In my short (some may say long) lifetime, I’ve been witness to and encountered many cases of domestic abuse and violence…among Muslims! Many sisters have emailed me and joined our forums over the years whose husbands have been verbally, emotionally and/or physically abusive towards them. In real life also, from the time of MSA all the way up until now, there have been a number of cases. In fact, many of these “cases” are even well known on the d/l within the Muslim community. Some cases have resulted in divorce, some have not.

Allow me please to say, WTH!? What on earth gives these Muslim men the idea that any kind of abuse is OK? That it’s OK to call their wife names, to abuse her emotionally, dominate her, not care about her, ignore her wishes and contributions, not help her in anything and even to beat her. Where in our glorious history of our Prophet (saw) did he ever lay a hand on his wives
? Where did he ever call them names, or abuse them in any way? Why do these men think it’s OK? A Deen where even a mighty Prophet moved his armies in order to save a tiny ant and her colony; where we are not even allowed to hurt an animal out of injustice! I just can’t understand it.

Those who take a verse or two out of the Quran and twist it in order to justify this type of behavior are even worse. (Specifically the daraba and qawwamuna verses) Where did the normative teachings of Islam go? All th
e other thousands of verses and Hadith and practice of the companions and righteous throughout the ages? These same people complain that non-Muslims take verses out of context and twist them to suit their needs. Are you not twisting the words of Allah, I mean WHERE WHERE does anything give you support that it’s OK to act like that. It is your twisted interpretation and no one elses.

We all know these men will be responsible in front of Allah. They know what they are doing and it feeds into their psychoses. But what about us? Why is this in any tiny, blind-eye even looking-the-other-way acceptable
? Why is this not taught to our sons. In our weekend schools? In our Khutbahs? Do we really want to have families of abusers? Because this behavior is learned generationally. Won’t that be great, to have generations of wife-beating Muslim families!

I remember a long time ago telling someone about some Rishta questions people should ask and the person said ‘why are you doing so much research it’s not like your husband is going to beat you’. Well, duh. As if it never happens among Muslims. I know better. And now we all know better with well publicized cases like Asiya Zubair. For every Asiya there are hundreds more in the US and thousands across the Muslim world. This is unacceptable. We are Muslims and our deen is Islam. Let’s live up to it.


Muslim Men Against Domestic Violence

Peaceful Families Project: Advocating Against Domestic Violence Among Muslims

Update:JazakiAllahu khairan to Sr. Mahwish for collecting these.

Here is a list of some shelters/agencies working with Muslim women throughout the country.

Muslimaat Al-Nisaa
5115 Liberty Heights Ave,
Baltimore, MD 21207
Phone: 410-466-8686

Muslimat Al-Nisaa, originally organized in 1987, is a non-profit organization established to provide culturally sensitive health, education and social services to Muslim community women and children. In 2005, co-founders Asma Hanif and Dr Maryam Funches, recognized the need to add a shelter program to the original organizational objectives.

Apna Ghar
4753 N. Broadway Suite 502
Chicago, IL 60640
773-334-0173 phone
773-994-0963 fax

Apna Ghar is a domestic violence shelter serving primarily Asian women and children, and was the first Asian shelter of its kind in the Mid-Western United States. Apna Ghar takes its name from a Hindi-Urdu phrase meaning “Our Home”, and since January 1990 has served over 3800 domestic violence clients.

Asian/Pacific Islander Domestic Violence Resource Project
P.O. Box 14268
Washington, DC 20044
(202) 364-4630 phone

We are a diverse group of volunteers and staff who are committed to ending domestic violence and its effects. We have expertise in a range of areas including education, law, and public health and we draw on the experiences and cultural backgrounds of our members of Asian/Pacific Islander descent.

Baitul Salaam – Atlanta
P.O. Box 11041
Atlanta, GA 30310
(404) 608-8649

We are a non-profit organization consisting of a variety of individuals and businesses in the fight together to end spousal abuse worldwide. Our services include: Counseling and support services, Battered women’s shelter, Temporary financial assistance, Fundraising services, and Employment assistance

Hamdrad Center
355 Wood Dale Rd
Wood Dale, IL 60191
630-860-9122 24-hour Emergency Crisis Line
630-860-2290 phone
630-860-1918 fax

Hamdrad Center provides culturally tailored, multilingual services to domestic violence victims and abusers since 1993. A team of dedicated volunteers has made it possible to establish a fully licensed shelter and a 24 hour Crisis Hotline, and to provide individual and family counseling to families in need.

HOMS – Housing Outreach for Muslim Sisters
P.O. Box 152611
Arlington, TX 76015

H.O.M.S. is a facility designed for Muslim women and their children who are in need of temporary housing/shelter due to family or financial problems.

ISSA – Islamic Social Services Association of USA & Canada
4202 Roblin Blvd
Winnipeg, Manitoba
R3R 0E7
(204) 889-7451 phone
(204) 896-1694 fax

ISSA is a unique organization since it is not a social service provider, but rather is an organization that serves as a network for addressing the social service concerns Muslims have. ISSA aims to provide support to social service providers through education, training, services and advocacy.

ISTABA is a non-profit full time institute which offers various services to the community. ISTABA also offers the following:
Food Pantry
Food items are provided to needy Muslims and Non Muslims; Open Saturdays 11:00 am – 2:00 pm
Medical Clinic
Red Crescent Medical Clinic is open to Muslims and
Non Muslims and is free for the uninsured. Open Tuesday – Saturday 10:30 am – 5:30 pm

Muslim Community Center For Human Services
M. Basheer Ahmed, M.D.
Chairman MCC for Human Services
P.O. Box 152658
Arlington, TX 76015
817-589-9165 phone
817-483-4699 fax

Muslim Community Center For Human Services offers the following services to the victims of domestic violence. 24-hour helpline 817-589-9165 ;Counseling service for couples ;and/or individuals ;Computer training program for victims of domestic violence ;Arrangements with local shelters if needed ;Educational programs for prevention of domestic violence ;Educational material is also provided

Muslim Women’s Help Network
87-91 144th Street
Jamaica, NY 11435
Tel.: (718) 523-5100
Fax: (718) 658-3434

The mission of the Muslim Women’s Help Network is to promote family life in accordance with the Qur’an and Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad (saw), emphasizing the protection and maintenance of women and children as the foundation for a productive community life.

Muslim Women’s Network
PO Box 14023
Columbus, OH 43214

The Muslim Women’s Network exists to, insha Allah, provide Islamically-trained workers to build stronger families by: Providing counseling and/or mediation services to the community; Introducing and re-connecting women to their community; Helping women to help themselves; Being a catalyst for social change. In the Muslim Women’s Network & Community Services we hope, insha Allah, to support sisters in many ways but to focus our services toward the following core groups: widows, the displaced, the disenfranchised and the abused of our community.

P.O. Box 14014
Berkeley, CA 94712
510-540-0754 Office
1-800-215-7308 Helpline

Narika was founded in 1992 to address the problem of domestic violence in the South Asian community. Embracing the notion of women’s empowerment, Narika set out to address the unmet needs of abused South Asian women by providing advocacy, support, information, and referrals within a culturally sensitive model. We serve women who trace their origins to Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal, Pakistan,
Sri Lanka and diasporic communities such as Fiji and the Caribbean.

P.O. Box 1403
Alomita, CA 93717

Here are some additional links: (Washington DC) (Sakhi for South Asian Women, New York) (Chaya, Seattle) (Turning Point, New York)