Monday 14 June 2010

Mum and Muslim Request

Mum and Muslim magazine are now online at We have had fantastic feedback from readers both positive and constructive alhamdulillah and are keen for more.

Better yet we are re-launching the magazine shortly with a new title and an updated new website insh’Allah. We are keen to make the magazine inclusive to fathers as well as mothers and we are eager for the magazine to reach as wide a readership as possible, so that the wider world can see how positive, effective and spiritually-rich parenting based on the Quran and Sunnah can be.

Why am I telling you this?
Because we would like the voices represented in the magazine to be as varied as possible. We want to embrace the full beauty and diversity of our ummah and learn from as many people as possible and hopefully pass that wisdom on to others.

Accordingly we need new contributors – anyone keen to share their experience or their literary work – articles, poems, short stories, how-to-tutorials are all of interest to us. Although our magazine is centred around parenting, we also publish material that may not be directly related to parenting but may be useful to parents – so recipes, lifestyle, product reviews, crafts and creative writing, again, are all of interest to us.

We would also love to get on board photographers – you don’t have to be a professional, you just have to have some clear, crisp shots that we can use to liven up our pages.

So, if you are interested in writing for us (fi’sabillah for now), submitting something you have written or sending us some photographs that we can use, please e-mail us at Bloggers are welcome to send us material they have used before if they think it is particularly relevant and we will link back to your blogs insh’Allah.

Please do have a look around our website and get a feel of what we are aiming to do and take a look at the sections to see if there is knowledge, experience or wisdom that you have to offer. If you aren’t able to contribute at this time, please do have a browse and leave a comment. Your feedback is invaluable to us so that we can learn what is useful and interesting to readers and what is not.

Bloggers – we will soon have a button for our site to place on your website or blog and we would love if you could mention our site or display the button. More news on this once it is ready insh’Allah.

In the meantime, jazakh’Allah-khairun for your support, ideas, kind comments, e-mails and enquiries, please do keep them coming.

Sunday 6 June 2010

American History and Islam

The chair of Islamic Studies at American University in Washington DC, scholar Akbar Ahmed, writes for the Guardian 2 June 2010 about the role US history could play in bringing greater understanding between Muslims and non-Muslims in America and the challenges facing Muslims today:

"America has a strong foundation in which to solve the challenge of the Muslim community if Americans look to their past and revive the spirit of some of their truly great leaders. Roger Williams, in the 17th century laid the groundwork for separation of church and state and welcomed people of other faiths. The state, said Williams, should allow all religions, including the "Turkish" (Islamic).

Thomas Jefferson owned a Qur'an and we found a statue of Jefferson advocating "Religious Freedom, 1786" with the words God, Jehovah, Brahma and Allah carved on the tablet he embraces.

A treaty, which was sponsored by George Washington and signed by John Adams in 1797, pertained to Tripoli and assured that the United States "has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion or tranquility of Musselmen." Even the Prophet Muhammad was praised by the founding fathers; Adams called him one of the world's "sober inquirers after truth" alongside such figures as Confucius and Socrates, and Benjamin Franklin cited the prophet as a model of compassion

Our findings from the field bring both bad news and good news. The bad news is that every one of the major American Muslim categories – African Americans, immigrants, and converts – has been involved in recent violence-related cases in the United States. In view of the bankruptcy of Muslim leadership and American failure to truly understand the Muslim community, it is not difficult to predict that violence will increase in both frequency and intensity. I am sorry to say that the government and its various agencies still do not have an adequate policy towards the country's Muslim population. Some Muslims are affected by US actions taken in response to 9/11, which included the arrests and deportation of thousands, prompting many others to flee the country. These realities have reinforced the sense of being a mistrusted community. Others resent the Islamophobia they see in the media.

The good news is that American and Muslim leaders alike are now conscious of the problem of terrorism and its scale and are actively discussing the position of Muslims in America. Some of our findings challenge the received wisdom telling us that most Americans are hostile to Muslims. Of those questioned for our study, 95% said that they would vote for a Muslim for public office, for example, and an equally high number of respondents had no problem with Muslims being "American", although some inserted "if" clauses. We found a patriotic and vibrant Muslim community committed to contributing to the country. Dialogue and understanding are urgently recommended."

You can read the full article here.


LikeMedia is a website that is dedicated to providing 'A fresh approach' to Islam and issues surrounding it. They describe their objective as being:

"to create a virtual portal of high quality Islamic knowledge for the online community. The project was initiated by university graduates who had a vision that Islamic knowledge should be imparted to all; each generation, each individual and each audience should be able to refer to knowledge at greater ease than is currently available. A lot of wisdom is shared across platforms across universities, mosques, youth projects and the like through various channels. Talks, courses and conferences take place on a regular basis and attract strong crowds, but how many of those preserve and display that knowledge that they have gained visually? How do we prevent all of these wise words being lost? How do we make that information accessible to all and not only reserved for those who had the means to attend the talk? That is when decided to embark on this journey of presenting the cyber world with videos of talks, courses and conferences that had been organised through their work from the past, present and future."

The website features lectures, nasheeds and conversion stories from well know Muslims and "words and wisdom video's like the one here by Baba Ali.

O Magazine - Choosing to Wear the Muslim Headscarf

The Oprah magazine recently published an article called "Choosing to Wear the Muslim Headscarf" by Krista Bremer, mother to a little girl who decided that she wanted to wear the headscarf, at first, much to the discomfort of her mother:

"Last summer we were celebrating the end of Ramadan with our Muslim community at a festival in the parking lot behind our local mosque. Children bounced in inflatable fun houses while their parents sat beneath a plastic tarp nearby, shooing flies from plates of curried chicken, golden rice, and baklava. Aliya and I wandered past rows of vendors selling prayer mats, henna tattoos, and Muslim clothing. When we reached a table displaying head coverings, Aliya turned to me and pleaded, "Please, Mom—can I have one?"

In the past, my excuse was that they were hard to find at our local mall, but here she was, offering to spend ten dollars from her own allowance to buy the forest green rayon one she clutched in her hand. I started to shake my head emphatically "no," but caught myself, remembering my commitment to Ismail. So I gritted my teeth and bought it, assuming it would soon be forgotten.

I understood then that while physical exposure had liberated me in some ways, Aliya could discover an entirely different type of freedom by choosing to cover herself.

I have no idea how long Aliya's interest in Muslim clothing will last. If she chooses to embrace Islam, I trust the faith will bring her tolerance, humility, and a sense of justice—the way it has done for her father. And because I have a strong desire to protect her, I will also worry that her choice could make life in her own country difficult. She has recently memorized the fatiha, the opening verse of the Qur'an, and she is pressing her father to teach her Arabic. She's also becoming an agile mountain biker who rides with me on wooded trails, mud spraying her calves as she navigates the swollen creek".

Read the whole article here.

Draw Muhammed (Peace Be Upon Him)

The recent 'Everybody Draw Mohammed Day' controversy which began Facebook has meant that Saudi Arabia, bangladesh and Pakistan (temporarily) have banned Facebook and many Muslims have deactivated their accounts.

However, Dr Mehzabeen Ibrhim has suggested a different response:

They Asked Me to Draw Mohammad… So I Did

For most Muslims, there were only two ways to deal with the controversial “Draw Mohammad Day”: boycott Facebook, or ignore it completely. I stumbled across a third: to draw Mohammad.

I had heard about the event several weeks earlier, and assumed it was some kind of twisted joke. Having learnt my lesson after several so-called cartoon “crises”, I paid no heed to it; a stance mirrored by many of my Muslims friends and acquaintances. “Just ignore them”, they said. “All they want is attention!” So, I did, and life progressed as normal.

Then, a fortnight ago, I started to sense disquiet amongst the ranks. The word “boycott” started appearing in my Facebook feed. Then in my inbox. Then on my phone. It soon became clear that the initial “ignore” position was soon to be challenged by an old friend: the Muslim boycott.

Yet, still, I was not moved to action - or even inaction. I did not think a boycott of Facebook was the right way to go. Much like the Danish boycott, it mistakenly punished the social network for a group it had not created, and did not endorse. And even if Facebook agreed to close down the page, surely it would only spur its 100,000+ members to seek revenge? No, ignoring was the way to go in my mind. I would not budge.

Finally, the night before the big day, I received an email from a fellow student who seemed to have only just learnt of all the brouhaha: “I can't believe this exists. If anyone has the good way to guide these people, it would do so much good.” Below this brief message, she had pasted a link to the group in question. I had avoided it for so long, and now here it was. “Click me, click me!” it said. “Witness the madness!” And being the sucker for talking URLs that I am, I did what it asked. It did not lie.

Perhaps it was the vision of so much misinformation, tied up with a brown bow of ugly, Hollywood-inspired, Arab-villain-esque caricatures that inspired the following response, which soon became a tweet: “Idea for Draw Muhammed Day: we should all draw Muhammed! As in meem-haa-meem-daal. Submit 1000 pieces of calligraphy. Combat hate w/ beauty.”

For the non-Arabs, “meem”, “haa” and “daal” are the three Arabic letters needed to spell “Mohammed”, or “Muhammed”, or “Mohamad”, or… you get the idea. Arabic calligraphy is a traditional, well-respected craft, which has helped to fill the void in the landscape of Islamic Art, where portraiture would normally reside.

Surprisingly, my idea (which was more like an expression of my angst) seemed to resonate with a few people, as demonstrated by the number of retweets. I realised then that my status message wasn’t just a nice set of words: it was a call to action.
So, the following day – Draw Mohamed Day, May 20th - I set to work. Below are the results of 24 hours of non-continuous graft.

The hand-drawn illustration is a combination of Arabic and English (“Muhammad”). The surrounding text are quotes from several authentic narrations describing the physical attributes of the Prophet, peace be upon him.

They asked me to draw Mohammed, so I did. My hope is that my simple piece will inspire people to seek the truth about this amazing leader of mankind, by offering a glimpse as to why Muslims love him so much.

Dr Mehzabeen b. Ibrahim is a staff blogger for She currently studies Bioinformatics & Theoretical Systems Biology at Imperial College London.