Muslimmatters Highlights of 2015

As the digit changes on the calendar, we look at the year gone past and thank Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) for all the blessings He continues to shower upon us. alhamdulillah, MuslimMatters has continued to grow, both in reach and staff. We had several new writers join us to continue our goal of thought leadership and defining the Muslim narrative in the West.

Earlier this year we were noted as the most read English media website in the Global Islamic Digital Economy Report 2015-2016 by Thomson Reuters and Dinar Standard. We were also listed as the #6 top Islamic website in the world across all categories. In addition, our wonderful readers once again expressed their support by nominating and voting us as the Best Muslim Blog at the Brass Crescent Awards 2015. We are grateful for your vote of confidence and hope to continue striving for excellence.

MuslimMatters has some great news to share. We have wanted an offline presence where topics that we discuss online are amplified. With that in mind, we have acquired the rights to the Texas da'wah Convention (TDC) and will host a national convention on December 24-27, 2016 in Houston, TX. More information on registration, programming will follow. Our CEO, Haytham Soliman played a vital part in planning the diverse and dynamic #TDC2015 'To Things That Matter the Most'. It was a great chance for #MMFamily to meet each other and plan for the next year. All #TDC2015 videos will be uploaded to the Muslimmatters Youtube Channel.




Several of our scholars and writers spoke at the Annual ISNA Convention in Chicago- the largest gathering of Muslims in the United States. Our Editor in Chief Hena Zuberi spoke about the work MuslimMatters has done as a Muslim media organization to shape the narrative of Muslims.


2015 saw ISIS rear up its ugly head, trying to pass off the Khawarjite ideology as as a representative of Islam. Whether it was attacks in Beirut, Paris, or San Bernardino, Muslims were left scrambling as they faced the backlash stemming from these attacks in the form increased xenophobia and Islamophobia. We also saw an increased amount of hate in our comments section, and while we tried to give room to all voices, we sometimes had to censure the two extremes to ensure the majority still felt comfortable to comment.

So it is no surprise that our top 11 articles for the year included coverage on Paris, ISIS and what defines extremism — and the ever increasing pressure to condemn all acts of lunacy as “not Islam”. Here are are the most read articles of 2015:



What Muslims Are Saying About The Paris Attacks

by Haytham Soliman, Hena Zuberi & Muhammad Wajid Akhter

Following the brutal Paris attacks, our writers compile a collection of tributes, condolences and reactions from Muslim scholars and leaders all over the world on social media.

What is “Islamic”? A Muslim Response to ISIS and The Atlantic

by Daniel Haqiqatjou & Dr Yasir Qadhi

Graeme Wood's “What ISIS Really Wants,” published in the March 2015 edition of The Atlantic, has quickly become the most widely read article on the militant group. Indeed, it is becoming the most read article ever published by The Atlantic.

Popular as it is, Wood's essay is deeply flawed and alarmingly tone-deaf – dangerously so. What is so objectionable about Wood's essay is encapsulated in his statement: “The reality is that the Islamic State is Islamic. Very Islamic.” While Wood acknowledges that “nearly all” Muslims of the world reject ISIS, ultimately his thesis is that the atrocities committed by the group have a theological basis in Islam. In support of his thesis, Wood cites Princeton academic, Bernard Haykel, who not only agrees that ISIS is “very Islamic,” but even goes so far as to say that those Muslims who denounce ISIS as un-Islamic are either ignorant about Islam or are simply being politically expedient by deliberately whitewashing the legal and historical dimensions of their religion.

By characterizing ISIS as Islamic, Wood and Haykel in effect, if not intent, attribute cruel beheadings, wanton massacre, and all other manner of savagery to Islam. In their minds, such an attribution is neither factually incorrect nor particularly damaging to “nearly all” Muslims who reject ISIS. But are Wood and Haykel too naïve to understand that by making such attributions to Islam, they ipso facto implicate and foment suspicion about all those who subscribe to Islam?

10 for 20 at 40 – Ten Pieces of Advice I'd give to my Twenty-Year Old Self Now that I'm Forty

by Dr Yasir Qadhi

Forty is a special age. It's the quintessential age of mid-life. It's older than 'young', but younger than 'old'. It's an age where one has typically finished jumping all the hoops that society and education and starting a family require, and where one now looks forward to thinking about the major accomplishments of life, and the legacy that one wishes to leave.

The Qur'an mentions forty as the age of reaching full maturity: “Until, when (man) reaches his maturity (ashudd), and reaches forty years of age, he says, 'O My Lord! Allow me to thank the blessings that you have bestowed on me, and on my parents, and that I perform good deeds that are pleasing to you, and make my children righteous as well. Truly, I repent unto You, and are of those who submit totally to you” [Ahqāf; 15].

No wonder, then, that our Prophet Muhammad actually began receiving inspiration and preaching his message at the age of forty. For forty years, he was merely being prepared for the real purpose of his mission: the call to Allah.

Debating Homosexuality

by Daniel Haqiqatjou

In light of the recent US Supreme Court ruling on gay marriage, we have seen a number of Muslim scholars reiterate the position of Islamic law on same-sex acts. What we have not seen much of, however, is reasoning explaining why Islamic law prohibits same-sex acts. Clearly many people today including Muslims do not understand why Islam or any religion would forbid homoeroticism. As it is often put, if two people love each other and want to consummate their love, what difference does it make if they happen to be of the same sex? What could be wrong about this?

Get the Muslim iCondemn App!

by Daniel Haqiqatjou

Why don't we Muslims ever condemn terrorism? This is a perennial question many intelligent, reflective people have asked over the years. Usually these people don't have a single Muslim acquaintance and don't know how to use a search engine, but that's besides the point.

Some have argued that Muslims shouldn't be required to condemn every single criminal act done in the name of their religion. After all, asking Muslims to condemn terrorism is akin to demanding Muslims assume guilt for the crimes of a deranged few, and that's just racist. Or so the argument goes.

But I totally disagree.

Blurred Lines: Women, “Celebrity” Shuyukh, and Spiritual Abuse

by Ustadha Zaynab Ansari

Our leaders, particularly those who claim to be spiritual guides, must practice what they preach. Our 'ulama are not politicians, for whom a wide disparity between public image and private conduct is expected. Yes our 'ulama are fallible, but they have a responsibility to recognize the tensions inherent in their roles, the pitfalls of the celebrity Shaykh culture, and the integrity of the positions they hold. How can our leaders recite platitudes about women's empowerment and status in Islam publicly, while privately undermining those very rights they claim to cherish? How is it acceptable to publicly proclaim respect for women, while privately deeming them little more than sexual conquests?

Everything You Ever Wanted to Know about Intimacy for Muslim Couples

by Haleh Banani, Umm Reem Saba Syed, Hena Zuberi

Intimacy between spouses is a beautiful act of worship. A divine experience that has been mired by anxieties fueled by hypersexualized media, Hollywood movies, many cultural beliefs from the East and misinformed 18th century notions rooted in the West.
It took a year of contemplation for us to publicly address this topic in a broadcast, but the need amongst Muslim couples was so great that we had to put aside our hesitations. The Prophet, sallallahu alihi wasalam and the sahaba and sahabiyaat were not shy to discuss these matters.

Practicing Islam in Long, Long Prayer Garments

by Umm Zakiyyah

“I suppose it's natural to feel judged when we know we're not living right. Our guilty conscience projects on everything around us. Innocent laughter becomes mockery. A fleeting frown becomes scorn. Even dhikr (remembrance of Allah) becomes offensive. But it's so much easier to just start living right than to expend so much energy complaining about all the people judging us for doing wrong.”

— from the journal of Umm Zakiyyah

Mental Illness and Ramadan

by Sh Yahya Adel Ibrahim

Although mental health care has improved significantly over the last decades, many Muslims still choose not to seek treatment or quit prematurely. Stigma is perhaps the most significant cause of this. Simply, a person is made to feel that they are disqualified from full social acceptance.

2 Authentic signs DURING Laylatul-Qadr

by Majed Mahmoud

Those who are keen to capture the reward of Laylatul-Qadr (Night of Decree) seek to learn as much as possible about it. There are two authentic narrations that discuss the signs seen during the Night of Decree, not including the signs that appear after the night. If you were to witness these signs during one of the last ten nights of Ramadan, know for a fact that you are witnessing Laylatul-Qadr.

Uyghurs in China: We Buried the Qur'an in Our Backyards

by Hena Zuberi

With the news of China forcing imams to dance in public and to make oaths to keep children away from religion in what is known as Xinjiang, where government officials warned that Muslims “During Ramadan do not engage in fasting, vigils or other religious activities,” effectively banning Ramadan, I wanted to share an interview that I did for the Muslim Link newspaper, with the Prime Minister of the East Turkistan Government in Exile, Anwar Yusuf Turani.

4 Responses

  1. Mohamed

    Congratulations MuslimMatters on another successful year. May God bless you with many more years of success and accolades!

  2. iqrawrites

    I’ve been reading and following Muslim Matters for several years now. I first “discovered” the site from the Brass Crescent Awards winning blogs list. I think it’s an admirable effort with a lot of heart put into it. May Allah bless your every sincere intention and give you increase in all that is good.

  3. Ayeina

    The fact that Muslimmatters always stays on top is because of their dedicated team. As authors ourselves, we can tell it’s not easy to write “impressive stuff” all the time but muslimmatters team pulls it off every single time mashaaAllah. Zeba Khan, in particular, has been our favorite! <3 Read this article by her and you'll be hooked.


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