Connect with us


Some thoughts on the US Muslim Population




Which deeds are most beloved to Allah?

Alhamdulillah, by the blessings of Allah (swt) and readers like yourself, MuslimMatters has been an independent platform for our best thought leaders to educate us in our faith and catalyze change through powerful, necessary conversations. Since our humble beginnings as a basic wordpress blog in 2007, our content has remained free.

The Prophet (SAW) has taught us the best of deeds are those that done consistently, even if they are small. Click here to support us with a monthly donation of $10 per month, or even as little as $1. Set it and collect blessings from Allah (swt) for the khayr you're supporting without thinking about it.

By Tariq Nelson

Honestly, I’ve always thought that the Muslim population estimation given by Muslim organizations seemed to be bit inflated (especially in smaller areas). They usually come up with the number by multiplying by three the number of people or families that attend a mosque because they say that two thirds are not religious. So if there are 100,000 Muslims in a city at the Eid, they will multiply that by three and come up with 300,000.

Here are some estimates for the cities with the largest populations:

New York-NJ area: about 800,000

Los Angeles area: about 500,000

DC-Baltimore area: about 400,000

Chicagoland about 300,000

Detroit area about 300,000 (some estimate about 3% of Detroit’s metro population is Muslim)

Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington area about 200,000 (according to some, 85% of that is African-American)

Just those 5 metro areas – according to those estimates – would give you around 2.5 million Muslims in the US and if you ask the average person if there – Muslim or non-Muslim – about those numbers, they would probably not dispute it because there are a lot of Muslims in those areas with a significant and visible presence.

Then the next tier of cities:

– Dallas-Ft Worth, Houston, Atlanta, San Diego, the Bay Area, and Seattle which all claim to have around 100,000 Muslims

These cities have pretty large Muslim populations, but most would be a little surprised at that large a number.

– St Louis and the Miami/South Florida areas claim to have around 70,000 Muslims

– Columbus, Memphis, Cincinnati, Nashville all claim to have around 20,000-25,000 Muslims

I can tell you that the average person in a place like Memphis would be shocked to see an estimate of 25,000 Muslims in their city and the first question that would come to their mind is: “Where are they??” and they just simply would not believe it. As a Muslim I asked the same thing about the number given for Memphis as a person can easily drive from one side of the city to the other everyday for weeks and not see a single practicing Muslim except at the masjid.

Memphis usually gets an Eid crowd of about 2,500 – 3,000 Muslims including all men, women and children. Even if you quadrupled that number, you still only get around 10,000-12,000 or so. I just don’t know how or where the number 25,000 came from by any stretch.

My point is that the numbers of Muslim in the smaller cities may be even more inflated which may skew the numbers nationwide.

We report this – and the unprovable ‘Islam is the fastest growing religion’ mantra – as if it is an article of Iman. Anyone who questions it, then his Iman is questioned.

Even if Islam is shrinking in size, this has no bearing on whether or not Islam is the truth. Even if there are only 1 million Muslim in the US this has no bearing on us.

So why the need to inflate numbers?



  1. Amad


    May 23, 2007 at 8:09 PM

    salam.. its not a matter of inflating the number, it’s a matter of getting to the truth.

    Numbers mean a lot… that is why Muslims need to fight for the conservatively ‘right’ number just as many Islamophobic organizations are trying to keep it low.

    I will be addressing this question in Update#4 on the Pew Research report.

    • Avatar


      September 2, 2010 at 12:33 AM

      Why label anyone who wants to get an accurate statistic as an Islamophobe? When that is done, Islam is being sullied by making it about politics. But Islam is not primarily about politics. It’s about building societies and social networks amongst observant believers.

      Those who argue about Islam being the fastest growing religion are actually celebrating the downfall of those who claim to be Muslims. Every Muslim is supposed to believe that, upon death, every human being will admit to believing in the existence of God. That’s why the disbelievers and unbelievers will wish that judgment day never comes. After the time of judgment, every person will also accept the second part of the Muslim creed: the prophethood of Muhammad (SAW). Regardless of the fact that not all people will believe in the existence of God before they die, Muslims are supposed to proselytize (spread the teaching of Islam). They are not instructed to _convert_ people to Islam. They are simply instructed to _teach_ people about Islam. A Muslim is supposed to believe that only God controls who accepts or reject Islam, and God does not need helpers. So it would be impossible for a Muslim to convert anyone to Islam. A Muslim could only instruct others, and nothing more. When a believer accepts God’s command to proselytize, his intent must be to instruct, not to convert, or it does not warrant blessings.
      Also, only God knows people’s hearts, i.e. only God knows who is a true believer. A person who has studied hadith would know that Islam is destined to split into 73 sects, of which only one is righteous. That means the “Muslim” members of the other 72 sects of Islam will spend the rest of eternity in hellfire. So very few people will up in heaven. Abdullah bin Amarra relates that the Holy Prophet (SA) said ‘Surely things will happen to my people as happened earlier to Israelites, they will resemble each other like one shoe in a pair resembles the other to the extent that if anyone among the Israelites has openly committed adultery with his mother there will be some who will do this in my Ummah as well, verily the Israelites were divided into 72 sects but my people will be divided into 73 sects, all of them will be in the fire except one.”
      Furthermore, only .01% (1 of 1000) are destined to live in paradise eternally, while 99.99% (999 out of 1000) will spend eternity in hell. Narrated in Bukhari and Muslim: Allah will say, Send forth those who are destined for hell? Adam (pbuh) will say.Who are those? …Allah will say Out of every thousand, 999 go to hell and 1 to paradise”. – Bukhari 6:60:265 Implicit in the hadith is that only 1/1000th of all people are true believing Muslims.

      So…. be careful about claiming a huge population of believing Muslims. It’s arrogant, and it contracts hadith of Bukhari.

      Furthermore, people – especially those with children – need to make the best decision as to where to move. When organizations such as CAIR provided overinflated statistics, the damage to the ordinary person can be great.
      A person hopes to arrive in a city or town which is replete with Muslims, with Islamic-friendly public schools, with Islam-friendly entertainment, with Quran-teaching institutes, with mosques, and (hopefully) the athan played out loud. So he reads the CAIR or other Muslim organization statistics

      However, if statistics are overestimated, one could inadvertently choose to move where the Muslim community is very dispersed. Such a population cannot possibly be the source of fortification that the person what seeking.

      • Avatar


        May 23, 2012 at 6:32 PM

        I appreciate all of the comments above but I do feel that if you truly believe that “Allah is sufficient” then it does not matter where you live.
        Allah will be your guide and protector where-ever you go.

      • Avatar

        Najid Q.

        January 11, 2013 at 1:33 PM

        Sister Khadija broke it down so eloquintly.

        This world is truly unbelievable @ least the people in it.

        Islam is an Ancient Religion of the Ibrahams and yes its a Religion about Peace and Justice.

        everyone has the right of Righteousness.

        Now, that said to the 7-10% who are the extremist of Islam, well they are wrong. Because, like everything that has man’s imprint on it they have turned it into what they want it to be not what it actually is for its purity… my brothers and sisters have gone astray. Again, its a small percentage 7-10%, because Islam is World Wide.

        Now, you can argue the past… but the truth about this is..
        Who in there right mind wants to be oppressed?? All the wars that happend way way back were about oppression and people uprising from that.

        With 1.5-2 Billion Muslims around the world… do you see world wide violence?

        Alhamdulillah Subhanau Wa ta’ ala

  2. Avatar

    Ahmad AlFarsi

    May 23, 2007 at 8:33 PM

    Assalaamu alaykum,

    Wait a minute… Houston is only at 100k? and that’s an overestimate ?!?!?! (ahmad reconsiders move to houston….)

    Just one second people… says there are 50 masjids in the Greater Houston area… that number is HUGE compared to my experience in Baltimore area (maybe 10-20 masjids in total) and the Boston area (10+ masjids… 20 according to salatomatic).

    How does Houston have soo many masjids and only 100K muslims??? And I have heard so much from SO many different people about the awesome Muslim community it Houston… from what I heard and from I saw at TXDawah… I expected only NYC/NJ to rival Houston.

    Amad and Sh. Yasir, our local Houstonites, any idea what is going on here?


  3. Amad


    May 23, 2007 at 8:54 PM

    Houston is easily 200k. 80 Masajids…

  4. Avatar

    Tariq Nelson

    May 23, 2007 at 9:08 PM

    My issue is mainly with the smaller cities like Memphis.

    I don’t think the number of masjids is necessarily an indicator of the number of Muslims. They say that there are about 400K Muslims in the DC area and there are about 40 or so masjids. Masjids are easier (i.e., less expensive) to build in some areas of the country than others. Dar Al Hijrah – for example – draws about 3,000 Muslims on any given Friday. The four masjids in Memphis collectively draw about 1,200. So you have to consider the price of building masjids into consideration. Boston – for example – is much more expensive than many other places in the country


    I am not disputing your number, but how did you arrive at that number? Do we have anything other than anecdotal evidence?

    • Avatar


      May 19, 2015 at 1:28 PM

      The over inflation of numbers makes sense. I used to live near the masjid at U of M. Years ago sighting a hijab was exciting, so I don’t believe 20,000 is even close. Also, there are many refugees from muslim countries starting heir journey in Memphis. Perhaps these people are tallied. I am missing Memphis of late :)

  5. Avatar

    Ruth Nasrullah

    May 23, 2007 at 9:17 PM

    Asalaamu alaikum.

    Yes, the Houston Muslim community is awesome!

    This is the only place I’ve been really involved in a Muslim community, so can’t meaningfully compare with elsewhere, but I can say that when I lived in Boston I found the number of masajid woefully small.

  6. Amad


    May 23, 2007 at 9:58 PM

    Tariq, my gut-feeling ;)

    I’ll try to dig up more evidence… I am still trying to finish Update#3 for the Pew Report.

  7. Avatar

    ibn alHyderabadee

    May 24, 2007 at 1:49 AM

    i woudl say houston and dallas/ft.worth metroplex (my new second home) are about the same…..and I woudl eik to side with tariq’s estimate….Allahu ‘Alam…..

    Hosuotn has 80-100 islamic institutions….even if we take that number as big huge masjid that can hold about 500 people

    that woudl give us an estiamte of about 50,000…..and if we multiply that by 3 – it’s still at 150,000 –

    considerign that hosuton has only about 10-20 maxx big masaajid the rest are small tiny ity bity masjids

    i doubt houston has 200,000 ….highly unlikely even if you include the ismailis in 2002 the estimate according to them was about 15,000

  8. Avatar


    May 24, 2007 at 9:02 AM

    please check detroit and its suburbs’ population too. Arabs, Desis and African-Americans…all of them have a very large concentration. Last time, I checked it was only after NY and Cali.

  9. Avatar


    May 24, 2007 at 9:52 AM

    I have seen this mentality all too often amongst Muslims. As muslims we are concerned with truth, and not painting a pretty picture. If that involves people leaving islam, or that we are not the fastest growing religion, so be it. Islam relies on faith in God and the finality of the prophethood of our beloved Rasul (saws).

  10. Avatar


    May 25, 2007 at 11:45 AM

    Houston’s muslim community is very large and diverse. The Houston metropolitan area easily has over 400k.

    Los Angeles is one city but the surronding 87 other cities have significant numbers of Muslim. The County of Los Angeles has at least 1 million muslims. We have so many illegals it is hard to give an accurate figure because it is easy to blend in L.A.

  11. Avatar


    May 26, 2007 at 1:01 AM

    Bay Area, CA has a big Muslim pop too, about 200,000 according to CAIR.

    Allah knows best.

  12. Avatar

    Tariq Nelson

    May 26, 2007 at 5:59 AM

    I think that when we are in a Muslim enclave we can get a very skewed picture of the reality. We see full Jumuahs, activities, Muslim businesses and Muslim everywhere and we think that there are more Muslims than there are in reality.

    When this is the case, we can tend to live in a bubble to some extent and think of ourselves as larger than we actually are.

    400,000 Muslims in Houston would mean that about 1 in every ten people are Muslim there. While there is a nice Muslim presence in Houston, masha Allah, one in ten people is a very significant figure and one would think that there would be around 1,000 masjids if that was the case.

    I think that if there was an accurate way to census religion – with the way we are inflating our numbers – we would be a little disappointed in what we would find

  13. Avatar


    May 26, 2007 at 12:09 PM

    Most take many of the smaller cities into consideration when calculating for Houston. So Galveston, pearland, Engellton (spelling?), Missouri city, SugarLand, Conroe, Baycity, Katy and a slew of other small cities are mashed in the numbers.
    There are stlll neighborhoods in Houston that don’t have masjids: NE Houston, East Houston (well Uvalde is new), and the 5th ward and the area between downtown and north zone don’t have Masjids. So the community is definitely not 200K.
    If I recall the Eid prayer at the G.R Brown center or the Astrodome only got to about 30,000 at its peak (including late people), with at least seven other Eid prayers happening in and around the city mostly with non-ISGH associated masjids. Ismailis and Shia communities counted as well, I doubt that the population goes over 120K.

  14. Avatar

    Abu Bakr

    May 26, 2007 at 12:12 PM

    The number of masjids in Houston has more to do with coordinating to build masjids where needed as opposed to the mentality in most cities where each group is trying to rival the other by building larger (and therefore, emptier) masjids, rather than trying to build modest-sized – but strategically located – masjids

  15. Avatar

    Mujahideen Ryder

    May 29, 2007 at 12:20 PM

    New York-NJ has easily 1 million

    • Avatar

      Ahmad ibn Philip

      April 13, 2013 at 12:38 PM

      I would have to agree. In the 2007 NYPD radicalization report, they estimated the NYC Muslim population at approximately 600,000-750,000 (pg. 67 of the document). Call it an average of 675,000. I would say this number is most accurate of most census reports since they have better intelligence (due to political motivation) regarding this topic.

      Having said that, that is only NYC which at the time had a population of approximately 8.5 million. This however doesn’t count all of New York State. NY State has a population of 29 million people. Major counties and areas added to the total will bring the number closer to 900,000. This however, doesn’t include the inmate Muslim population. At the federal level in 2009, I believe there were 11,000 inmates out of about 60,000. That doesn’t account for the state population. 1 million might be a bit off, but I would say six years later, it’s not too far from 1 million.

      Throw in NJ and well, it gets much more interesting. While I do agree somewhat with brother Tariq’s analysis of this topic, I must say that on the flip side, the non-Muslim estimates are quite low. Many reports total the Muslim population in America as low as 1-2 million. I saw a recent program, “Face the Nation”, where Imam Suhaib Webb said there are 2 million Muslims in America. I believe this number is way off. Maybe 2 million among the major cities like NYC, Houston, L.A., Chicago, and Detroit. But what about all the other major cities?

      So I think while Muslims sometimes like to inflate numbers since they think quantity is everything and not quality, I feel the non-Muslims downplay our numbers greatly. ABC News in 1997 did a documentary on Hajj where they stated 5 million Muslims live in America. That was 16 years ago.

      Just in the last two years in my local Masjid we have had almost 10 shahadahs. I’m sure everyone here has similar accounts.

  16. Avatar


    June 1, 2007 at 5:08 PM

    I currently live in NY suburbs and want to provide a better Islamic environment for my family – esp school for my kids…would Houston be a good choice? Dallas? Thanks for your time.

  17. ibnabeeomar


    June 1, 2007 at 5:48 PM

    i think both are good options. houston has an amazing community mashallah. dallas though i think may have some better schools at this point

  18. Amad


    June 1, 2007 at 6:49 PM

    ASA… having intimate knowledge of both Dallas and Houston (lived in Houston, uncle in Dallas)… I believe Iman Academy does pretty good for Islamic school and you cannot beat the community of Houston. Dallas is quite Dull(as) if you get the drift :)


  19. Avatar


    July 17, 2007 at 12:36 PM

    Dallas beats Houston, hands down as far as islamic schools are concerned as of right now… my opinion….

    but as far as community activities and islamic environment…..houston blows dallas away

    and houston community is far more structured and organized than dallas…..

    Allahu ‘Alam

  20. Avatar


    February 24, 2008 at 11:11 PM

    Possibly, those statistics may be/may not be inflated, but far as seeing the Muslim population in Atlanta, I wouldn’t suprise me if it was around that 100,000 number for a few reasons:
    1) The biggest mistake that I come across with some non- Georgians is that they only focus on Atlanta the city opposed to the smaller cities around them. For example, the ” metro Atlanta ” area may be a small town 50 miles away from it, but yet, it’s part of the ATL.
    2)The difference between most Northern cities and Southern cities like ATL is that their Muslim communities are older, more established, older and concentrated than in the ATL. Where you may find a ” Little Lebanon”, in a places like Dearborn, Michigan or Baltimore, the Muslim populations are spreaded and though they may not number those to that of the following cities, but there are some exceptions :
    1)Clarkston, Georgia( a very diverse area where you will see many Somail/Ethiopian Bosnian and Iraqi Muslims)
    2)Midtown Atlanta( Although it is known as a gay community, anybody lives there. There are also a lot of immigrant Muslims who live there, especially the young students attending Georgia Tech)
    3) The West End-Whether it’s the N.O.I( yeck!) or just regular Muslims, they also live in this religiously diverse community.
    4) East Lake- While you may not not see them as much as the other places I’ve listed on here, There is also a small community of Muslim in this golfing community.
    5)Another thing to consider: In some Georgia towns/counties, they can be pretty populated areas. Fulton( Over 3,000,000) county is one of them, but another example would be it’s neighbor DeKalb County( Over 350,000) along with other counties/cities that make up the metropolitan Atlanta area. Those are two examples of counties/towns with a population of over 100,000 people in them but, there are several more as the Metro ATL consist of over 12 different counties/”towns”(I don’t know why they call it that when some of them resemble small cities)

    Atlanta may not have the larger , more established Muslim neigborhoods like in other big cities, but they are not as invisible as people think. There are there , but they aren’t just confined to one area of the ATL. Maybe those imams could be inflating the numbers some, but it could be that possiblity(??)

  21. Avatar


    February 25, 2008 at 1:16 PM

    Oops! I see a mistake in my post far as the ATL(metro Atlanta) area. I was also looking in the US Census Bureau quick stats concerning the general population of counties of the general populations in Georgia and some examples of the top ones, in which , in some ways I can believe that Atlanta , Memphis or any other small city can have Muslim populations reaching (or go over )100,000. For example(s)
    1) Fulton-960,000( Example city ATL: 423,000+)
    2) Dekalb-723,000( Example city: Decatur ,Ga over 18,000+)
    3)Gwinnett-757,104( Example city: Duluth,Ga 22,000+)
    4) Cobb-679,325( Example city: Marietta,Ga 58,000+)
    5)Clayton-271,240( example: Riverdale, Ga: 12,000+)
    6)Henry-176,033( example city : Stockbridge,Ga 9000+)

    Including the cities( which are smaller than the counties) , the diverse populations( whether they be AA,Latino ,Arab or Asian who may be inclined to be of that or join the faith) that are here ( and still continue to come here), there could be a possibilty that the statisticans can come up with the 100,000 count( or more) from those and the other 22 other metro ATL counties.( I also say “example city” because they are the larger/largest cities in their counties as there is more than other cities in those counties).

    In the past (1976), there wasn’t as many Muslim /Arab related stuff in the city of Atlanta,( though there were maybe a couple of store front Mosques at the time). In recent years, I’m able to see more than several Halal meat markets, restaurants shopping areas in some of these cities/counties, Pick up an Azizah magazines, An Nour newspapers( Both which are based in ATL) and other Arab/Muslim items. It’s not as predominate as it is in Maryland, but it’s getting there.

  22. Amad


    February 25, 2008 at 1:36 PM

    Thanks Peaches for the useful information.

  23. Avatar

    Khalid Shaheed jr.

    April 14, 2008 at 4:15 PM

    I am tempted to join the debate about what size the muslim community is in top 10 metro areas like the Bay Area, ATL, Dallas and Houston but I see the larger point that was made in the argument. Is size all that matters?? How many are practicing Islam anyway? How many are part of community life in their respective cities?

    Almost anywhere in the country you can find a hole in the bottom of the bucket. A lot of new muslims are coming in but we are loosing many.
    Examples include: Children not being reared in Islam or not being reared at all, new muslims who are being failed by poor communities (as a result they leave the fold of Al-Islam before they ever got firmly rooted), muslims having babies out of wedlock with NON-MUSLIMS, populations that come to America to seek a better life only to forget that Islam is the best way of life.

    These examples take a toll on our populations and if you were to count that in to the numbers you would see smaller numbers across the board, no exceptions. The debate is NOT how many Muslims or how many Masjids the debate should be over how to best maintain community life by cultivating the young, encouraging the new and supporting the existing muslim families. The numbers can only show you our true potential.

  24. Avatar


    April 20, 2008 at 4:59 AM

    Assalamu alaikom everyone,

    I’ve been searching for more than an hour now for “the Muslim population in Miami” alone,
    but I couldn’t find anything specific to Miami.

    Would anyone please help me?

    Thanks a lot

  25. Avatar


    July 5, 2008 at 1:38 PM

    Can anyone tell me where there are strong, predominately Sunni muslim communities in the US, preferably not in the large metropolitan areas. Suburbs are okay. I’m looking for masjids with new revert and children’s classes, and at least a small muslim neighborhood, so my son can be surrounded by muslim children 24/7.


  26. Avatar


    July 31, 2009 at 10:32 AM

    Columbus Are has register 150000 somalis and Afgans. I would doubt only 20 % of them being muslim. + the huge south asian and arab communities.

    eaisly 100 K

  27. Avatar


    November 15, 2009 at 5:37 PM

    Assalam ‘aleykum warahmatullah wabarakatuh.

    Serious, the number debate thing is ridiculous to be honest. The point is to give an estimate to Muslims who want to migrate to cities with big Muslim community. Right now I am searching for a city with an active Muslim community. I want to move out of where I am now when I’m done with school insha Allah (in few months). So the whole number thing does not convern me that much. I just want to know where there is a hug ACTIVE MUSLIM COMMUNITY (Practicing of COURSE). There are many like me searching. So yea, that is the point. Those who live in Muslim populated cities, please kindly share! It would be GREATLY appreciated insha Allah.


  28. Avatar


    December 21, 2009 at 7:18 PM

    Hmm. Dallas or Houston? Is Houston mostly Shi’a or Sunni? Dallas?

  29. Avatar

    Marguerite Strohl

    December 31, 2009 at 5:55 PM

    I am trying to understand the Muslim religion. Also am trying to locate my grand daughter, Brooke Michelle Alam. If you know of her whereabouts, then please contact me. She lives in Sugarland, I think, but I cannot locate anyone by the name Alam that is acquainted with her. Thank you for your help. I really do want to understand your religion.

    • Amad


      January 1, 2010 at 6:11 AM

      If you have questions about Islam, feel free to post them here.

      Hope to hear from you soon.

    • Avatar

      um mariam

      February 5, 2010 at 12:49 PM

      Hi, Marguerite. I was so sorry to hear that you’ve lost touch with your granddaughter. Have you visited all the mosques in the area you believe she’s in? I think you should personally visit all the mosques in the area and show her picture to the people there, and leave it to be posted on the bulletin boards.

      Do you know where Brooke’s father is from–city and country? Do you have his full name? Do you know where he was living and working when you were last in contact? Have you tried tracking him down? If he’s from an Arabic-speaking country, I could try having people contact his family for you.

      Did you know that one of the rules of Islam is that Muslims must keep their family ties and stay in contact with their relatives? The only reason a Muslim would be allowed to break family ties would be to protect someone from harm. If Brooke’s parents have prevented her from seeing you without a reason, their action is clearly wrong and sinful, from the Islamic point of view. Perhaps you could try having an Islamic scholar speak with them about this issue. Grandparents and grandchildren are a treasure for each other, and that bond and relationship should not be broken without serious cause.

      I wish you all the best. Please respond to my reply if you would like me to try to contact Brooke’s father’s family for you.

      Sincerely, Um Mariam, from Dubai

  30. Avatar


    March 21, 2010 at 12:27 AM

    In my experience most Muslims do not attend the masjids, so a small jumuah is not a reflection of how many Muslims there are, it just reflects how many are practicing -that day-.
    Most of the Muslims in my area are undetectable unless you actually knew to ask them if they are Muslim, other than that, nothing else would tell them apart from anybody else, except for very few. Increasingly Muslims are trying not to stand out, so if you’re doing a headcount by head scarves or beards then you’re going to grossly underestimate the Muslim population.

    I’m considering a move to Atlanta for grad school and possibly to permanently settle down because I was given the impression there was a large progressive Muslim population but I’m starting to question that. Even if there is a large Muslim population that doesn’t mean I’m going to feel at home because there could be a small practicing population. I want to find a diverse community that at least has a large practicing Muslim population.

  31. Avatar

    Wael -

    March 21, 2010 at 1:54 AM

    An estimate of 100,000 for the entire SF Bay Area is ridiculous. This area is heavily Muslim, with huge Muslim populations in many cities around the Bay including SF (Arabs and others), Santa Clara (Arabs, Indians and others), San Jose (large Indian community), Fremont (one of the largest Afghani communities in the West), Oakland (Palestinians, Yemenis and African-American Muslims everywhere), etc.

    This region has scores of masjids, Islamic organizations of all kinds, an Islamic radio show, dozens of halal restaurants ranging from Pakistani to Thai to Chinese, halal butcher shops, independent Islamic bookstores.

    I do not think that typical Muslim estimates of the U.S. Muslim population are inflated. I see Arabic names all the time now, in every field. And Islam has made serious inroads into the African-American population, to the point that many African-American Christian preachers have become quite alarmed. I’m quite sure that we outnumber Jews by a large margin, and they are estimated to be 6.5 million.

  32. Avatar


    March 28, 2010 at 1:29 PM

    Greetings and salam to all,

    Great thread and very informative! Peaches your info was very helpful. I live about an hour and 30 minutes NW of Atlanta and have been offered a job in Stockbridge/Riverdale/McDonough area but don’t know anyone living there. Have 2 small kids and would love to move to an area where there’s a mosque and an Islamic school, preferably. We considered moving to DFW or Houston but moving and uprooting is not that easy in my field.

    I know of some nice Muslim populated Nothern ATL metro areas including Marietta, Smyrna, Kenessaw, Alpharetta, Roswell, Swanee, Lilburn etc but the commute to south of ATL will be a bear and hence not a reality taking into account the notorius traffic. If someone reading this post lives in that area and is/was in the same boat as I am, I ld love to hear from them. Any help, however, is welcome. This would ease our confusion as we try to take the best possible decision for our family.


  33. Avatar


    September 2, 2010 at 3:37 PM

    Whatever the numbers are, we gotta fight to maintain and grow them.

    The Youth, The Youth, The Youth.

  34. Avatar

    Tanvir Ansari

    November 12, 2010 at 7:51 PM

    I have lived in Chicago,San Francisco,NYC-NJ, Detroit, Dallas, Houston & now recently moved to Atlanta. My passion is to roam around eat at halal restaurants, pray at different mosques driving length and breadth of city and outskirts as well.

    My opinion:
    1) NYC/NJ has huge muslim population, so I am okay with 1 million count for NY/NJ/CT/PA whole state.

    2)MI/IN/OH- Detroit again is huge as large afro-american community & whole of Dearborn. so again 500K.

    3)CA/NV/AZ/WA/OR/AK – SF/LA/Bay Area huge muslim, again 1 Million is an okay number here for these 4 states.

    4)IL/WI/IO – Again lot of muslim here in Chicago & suburbs, total for the state 500K

    4)Texas/FL/LA/MO/OK – Huge growing Muslim community, and a very much practicing Muslim community, big mosques, big Islamic schools, big Sunni community, big Shia community, big Ismaili’s – I will put the number of muslim here to be 500K for whole of Texas/FL. Most vibrant community of all I have seen in US is in Dallas Fortworth (Irving, Plano, Richardson, MCKinney) & Houston

    5)GA/NE/MS/AL/TN- I have been going to different mosques here, and really speaking I find it hard that Atlanta has more than 20K muslims (I am including Apharetta, Roswell, Metro Atlanta even Chattanooga). Whole of Georgia, I will say wont be more than 30K then. For the 4 states, I will put the count to be 100K

    6) All VA/MD/DC/NC/SC may be 500K as there is again sizable population here.

    7) Rest of US, I will say add 500K more.

    Also I have not much gone in the African-American/Mexican neighborhood, so I expect them to be 1-1.5 Million+ in addition to what I have already counted.

    So my guess is muslim population is~ 6 million, but since most of them are just immigrant an in age group of 20-30, hence it will really double up in next 10 years for sure.

  35. Avatar

    Rinat Ki

    February 9, 2011 at 7:40 AM

    Assalyamu Aleykum Wa RahmatuLaah

    Dear brothers and sisters let me ask you question which has been asked repeatedly many times InshaLaah. I live in area where there is almost no muslims at all. So my main intention, idea i want to move anywhere, to any place as long as it has big, practicing muslim community. All i want is just to live among muslims, practice my religion, be helpful for community, study and spread Islam. I’ve been looking for this kind of place for a very long time but so far at every internet sourse there are different numbers,fact etc. Plus I’m very young and came overhere from another country. So i’m just looking for muslim community to be in.
    May Allah Subhana Wa Ta’alya help us, guide us on right path.
    Jazzaka Laahu Khair
    Assalyamu Aleykum

  36. Pingback: Battle on dallas vs. Houston - Texas (TX) - Page 34 - City-Data Forum

  37. Avatar


    June 19, 2011 at 12:29 PM

    Assalaam ‘alaykum warahmatullah wabarakatuh.

    Does anybody know how diverse Houston or Dallas are as far as the Muslim community goes? (in terms of ethnic groups). I really like diversity and I’m trying to move out to either of these places because I have heard a lot that there are a lot of practicing Muslims there. Of course I’m planning on making more research insha Allah. I would also like to know if anyone knows the population of women wearing the niqab in Houston or Dallas. I mean to ask if it is something widely accepted there or not (or if there are many women wearing it).

    Jazak Allahu khayr.

  38. Avatar

    Ismail Abdur-Raheem

    July 17, 2011 at 10:20 PM

    As-Salaam Alikium, I’m currently living in Sacramento CA but I am planning to move out of the area. I am looking for the best city to move to which has a great community and business savvy people to work with. The cost of living must be good and the community mixed with different people. Please everyone give your reasoning on why your city would be a good fit for me.

  39. Avatar


    July 25, 2011 at 3:04 PM

    @TanvirAnsari – I live in the Atlanta metro area and wanted to comment on your posting. There are over 40 masjids in the Atlanta area. Unlike Houston and other cities, there is no single umbrella organization that oversees the various masajids. Either the masjid operates independently or maybe be integrated with one or two other masjids in the area. Therefore, the existence of masjids and muslims is not as great unless you live in areas where there are established Muslim communities. There is also a very diverse muslim population in Atlanta. Beliieve it or not, the largest ethinicity of muslims in this area are African Americans. (Other larger ethic groups include Arabs, South Asians, Persians, Turkish, Bosnians, Somalis, and Ethopians.) If you have ever spent time in areas south of downtown (Dekalb county and South Fulton County), you will see that there are a number of businesses and religious institutions that are very well established. These communities have been around since before muslim immigrants from Asia, Africa, and other parts of the world began to settle in this area. That area alone has a muslim population of 30 or 50 K. If you combine that with the muslims that live in Cobb, North Fulton, Dekalb, and Gwinnett, you are easily over 100K, just in Atlanta. That’s just 4 of the 25 counties making up Atlanta metro.

    To elaborate furher on these numbers, let’s just take Eid Salah attendance throughout the area:

    North Atlanta Trade Center = over 10K
    Alpharetta/Roswell = over 5K
    Gwinnett Civic Center = over 10K
    Lakewood = over 20K

    Larger masjid Eid prayers:
    Masjid Al-Islam = over 5K
    Masjid Al-Farooq = over 5K
    Masjid Ash-Shura = over 2K

    These are just some of the places where a large number of people go for Eid Salah (and ones that I can recall). Adding these numbers up puts you right around 60K and only covers less than 1/4 of the metro area. Even if you double that number for the remaining 3/4 of the metro area, you are over 100K just for Atlanta. I would even go out on a limb and estimate that the Muslim population just within the Atlanta metro area is close to or over 200K.

    Certainly if you combine with other cities in Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee, and Mississippi, you are closer to 200K, rather than 100K as you state in your post.

  40. Pingback: The Origin Of The Philly Beard [Original] | Hot 107.9 Philly

  41. Avatar


    May 18, 2012 at 11:47 AM

    thanks, its real helpful… here’s a complete table that i thought would add to the discussion…

  42. Avatar


    July 16, 2012 at 7:19 PM

    What percentage of the muslim population in the Detroit/Dearborn area are shia vs sunni? Iraqi sunnis population vs shia population.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Loving Muslim Marriage Episode #7: Islamic Modesty vs. Muslim Shame

Saba Syed (Umm Reem)



Which deeds are most beloved to Allah?

Alhamdulillah, by the blessings of Allah (swt) and readers like yourself, MuslimMatters has been an independent platform for our best thought leaders to educate us in our faith and catalyze change through powerful, necessary conversations. Since our humble beginnings as a basic wordpress blog in 2007, our content has remained free.

The Prophet (SAW) has taught us the best of deeds are those that done consistently, even if they are small. Click here to support us with a monthly donation of $10 per month, or even as little as $1. Set it and collect blessings from Allah (swt) for the khayr you're supporting without thinking about it.

Muslims who discuss sex are sometimes met with a call to shame, but if modesty is observed, then is there any cause for such shame? It all boils down to what shame really is, and how it differs from modesty not only in our lives, but also in the lifetime of the Prophet himself ﷺ.

To view the entire video series, visit

Continue Reading

#Current Affairs

The Duplicity of American Muslim Influencers And The ‘So-called Muslim Ban’

Dr Joseph Kaminski



Which deeds are most beloved to Allah?

Alhamdulillah, by the blessings of Allah (swt) and readers like yourself, MuslimMatters has been an independent platform for our best thought leaders to educate us in our faith and catalyze change through powerful, necessary conversations. Since our humble beginnings as a basic wordpress blog in 2007, our content has remained free.

The Prophet (SAW) has taught us the best of deeds are those that done consistently, even if they are small. Click here to support us with a monthly donation of $10 per month, or even as little as $1. Set it and collect blessings from Allah (swt) for the khayr you're supporting without thinking about it.

As we approach the beginning of another painful year of the full enforcement of Presidential Proclamation 9645 (a.k.a. ‘the Muslim ban’) that effectively bars citizens of several Muslim majority countries from entering into the United States, the silence remains deafening. As I expected, most of the world has conveniently forgotten about this policy, which thus far has separated over 3,000 American families from their spouses and other immediate relatives. In June 2019, the Brennan Center of Justice notes that: The ban has also kept at least 1,545 children from their American parents and 3,460 parents from their American sons and daughters. While silence and apathy from the general public on this matter is to be expected— after all, it is not their families who are impacted— what is particularly troubling is the response that is beginning to emerge from some corners of the American Muslim social landscape.

While most Muslims and Muslim groups have been vocal in their condemnation of Presidential Proclamation 9645, other prominent voices have not. Shadi Hamid sought to rationalize the executive order on technical grounds arguing that it was a legally plausible interpretation. Perhaps this is true, but some of the other points made by Hamid are quite questionable. For example, he curiously contends that:

The decision does not turn American Muslims like myself into “second-class citizens,” and to insist that it does will make it impossible for us to claim that we have actually become second-class citizens, if such a thing ever happens.

I don’t know— being forced to choose exile in order to remain with one’s family certainly does sound like being turned into a ‘second-class citizen’ to me. Perhaps the executive order does not turn Muslims like himself, as he notes, into second-class citizens, but it definitely does others, unless it is possible in Hamid’s mind to remain a first-class citizen barred from living with his own spouse and children for completely arbitrary reasons, like me. To be fair to Hamid, in the same article he does comment that the executive order is a morally questionable decision, noting that he is “still deeply uncomfortable with the Supreme Court’s ruling” and that “It contributes to the legitimization and mainstreaming of anti-Muslim bigotry.”

On the other hand, more recently others have shown open disdain for those who are angered about the ‘so-called Muslim ban.’ On June 6th, 2019, Abdullah bin Hamid Ali, a Senior Faculty Member at Zaytuna College, Islamic scholar and the founder of the Lamppost Education Initiative, rationalized the ban on spurious security grounds. He commented that,

The so-called Muslim ban, of course, has us on edge about his potential. But, to be fair, a real Muslim ban would mean that no Muslim from any country should be allowed in the US. There are about 50 Muslim majority countries. Trump singled out only 7 of them, most of which are war torn and problem countries. So, it is unfair to claim that he was only motivated by a hatred for Islam and Muslims.

First, despite how redundant and unnecessary this point is to make again, one ought to be reminded that between 1975 and 2015, zero foreigners from the seven nations initially placed on the banned list (Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen) killed any Americans in terrorist attacks on U.S. soil and zero Libyans or Syrians have ever even been convicted of planning a terrorist attack on U.S. soil during that same time period. I do not think these numbers have changed over the last 4 years either. If policy decisions are supposed to be made on sound empirical evidence and data, then there is even less justification for the ban.

Second, Bin Hamid Ali comments that ‘the so-called Muslim ban, of course, has us on edge about his [Trump’s] potential.’ Whoa… hold on; on edge about his potential? For the millions of people banned from entering the United States and the thousands of Muslim families connected to these millions of people, this ‘potential’ has been more than realized. To reduce the ‘so-called Muslim ban’ to just targeting ‘war torn and problem countries’ is to reduce our family members—our husbands, wives, and children—to (inaccurate) statistics and gross stereotypes. Are spouses from Syria or Yemen seeking to reunite with their legally recognized spouses or children any less deserving to be with their immediate family members because they hail from ‘problem countries’? How can one be concerned with stereotypes while saying something like this? Is this not the exact thing that Abdullah bin Hamid Ali seeks to avoid? Surely the Professor would not invoke such stereotypes to justify the racial profiling of black American citizens. What makes black non-Americans, Arabs, and Iranians any different when it comes to draconian immigration profiling? From a purely Islamic perspective, the answer is absolutely nothing.

More recently, Sherman Jackson, a leading Islamic intellectual figure at the University of Southern California, King Faisal Chair in Islamic Thought and Culture and Professor of Religion and American Studies and Ethnicity, also waded into this discussion. In his essay, he reframed the Muslim ban as a question of identity politics rather than basic human right, pitting Muslim immigrants against what he calls ‘blackamericans’ drawing some incredibly questionable, nativist, and bigoted conclusions. Jackson in a recent blog responding to critiques by Ali al-Arian about his own questionable affiliations with authoritarian Arab regimes comments:

Al-Arian mentions that,

“the Muslim American community seemed united at least in its opposition to the Trump administration.”  He and those who make up this alleged consensus are apparently offended by Trump’s so-called Muslim ban.  But a Blackamerican sister in Chicago once asked me rhetorically why she should support having Muslims come to this country who are only going to treat her like crap.

These are baffling comments to make about ‘Trump’s so-called Muslim ban.’ Jackson creates a strawman by bringing up an anecdotal story that offers a gross generalization that clearly has prejudiced undertones of certain Muslim immigrants. Most interesting, however is how self-defeating Jackson’s invocation of identity politics is considering the fact that a large number of the ‘blackamerican’ Muslims that he is concerned about themselves have relatives from Somalia and other countries impacted by the travel ban. As of 2017, there were just over 52,000 Americans with Somali ancestry in the state of Minnesota alone. Are Somali-Americans only worth our sympathy so long as they do not have Somali spouses? What Jackson and Bin Hamid Ali do not seem to understand is that these Muslim immigrants they speak disparagingly of, by in large, are coming on family unification related visas.

Other people with large online followings have praised the comments offered by Abdullah bin Hamid Ali and Sherman Jackson. The controversial administrator of the popular The Muslim Skeptic website, Daniel Haqiqatjou, in defense of Jackson’s comments, stated:

This is the first time I have seen a prominent figure downplay the issue. And I think Jackson’s assessment is exactly right: The average American Muslim doesn’t really care about this. There is no evidence to indicate that this policy has had a significant impact on the community as a whole. Travel to the US from those four countries affected by the ban was already extremely difficult in the Obama era.

What Haqiqatjou seems to not realize is that while travel from these countries was difficult, it was not as ‘extremely difficult’ as he erroneously claims it was. The US issued 7,727 visas to Iranian passport holders in 2016 prior to the ban. After the ban in 2018, that number dropped to 1,449. My own wife was issued a B1/B2 Tourist visa to meet my family in 2016 after approximately 40 days of administrative processing which is standard for US visa seekers who hold Iranian passports. On the other hand, she was rejected for the same B1/B2 Tourist visa in 2018 after a grueling 60+ day wait due to Presidential Proclamation 9645. At the behest of the Counselor Officer where we currently live, she was told to just finish the immigration process since this would put her in a better position to receive one of these nearly impossible to get waivers. She had her interview on November 19, 2018, and we are still awaiting the results of whatever these epic, non-transparent ‘extreme vetting’ procedures yield. Somehow despite my wife being perfectly fine to enter in 2016, three years later, we are entering the 10th month of waiting for one of these elusive waivers with no end time in sight, nor any guarantee that things will work out. Tell me how this is pretty much the same as things have always been?

What these commentators seem to not realize is that the United States immigration system is incredibly rigid. One cannot hop on a plane and say they want to immigrate with an empty wallet to start of Kebab shop in Queens. It seems as if many of these people that take umbrage at the prospects of legal immigration believe that the immigration rules of 2019 are the same as they were in 1819. In the end, it is important to once again reiterate that the Muslim immigrants Jackson, Bin Hamid Ali and others are disparaging are those who most likely are the family members of American Muslim citizens; by belittling the spouses and children of American Muslims, these people are belittling American Muslims themselves.

Neo-nationalism, tribalism, and identity politics of this sort are wholly antithetical to the Islamic enterprise. We have now reached the point where people who are considered authority figures within the American Islamic community are promoting nativism and identity politics at the expense of American Muslim families. Instead of trying to rationalize the ‘so-called Muslim Ban’ via appeals to nativist and nationalist rhetoric, influential Muslim leaders and internet influencers need to demonstrate empathy and compassion for the thousands of US Muslim families being torn apart by this indefinite Muslim ban that we all know will never end so long as Donald Trump remains president. In reality, they should be willing to fight tooth-and-nail for American Muslim families. These are the same people who regularly critique the decline of the family unit and the rise of single-parent households. Do they not see the hypocrisy in their positions of not defending those Muslim families that seek to stay together?

If these people are not willing to advocate on behalf of those of us suffering— some of us living in self-imposed exile in third party countries to remain with our spouses and children— the least they can do is to not downplay our suffering or even worse, turn it into a political football (Social Justice Warrior politics vs. traditional ‘real’ Islam). It seems clear that if liberal Muslim activists were not as outspoken on this matter, these more conservative voices would take a different perspective. With the exception of Shadi Hamid, the other aforementioned names have made efforts to constrain themselves firmly to the ‘traditional’ Muslim camp. There is no reason that this issue, which obviously transcends petty partisan Muslim politics, ought to symbolize one’s allegiance to any particular social movement or camp within contemporary Islamic civil society.

If these people want a ‘traditional’ justification for why Muslim families should not be separated, they ought to be reminded that one of al-Ghazali’s 5 essential principles of the Shari’a was related to the protection of lineage/family and honor (ḥifẓ al-nasl). Our spouses are not cannon fodder for such childish partisan politics. We will continue to protect our families and their honor regardless of how hostile the environment may become for us and regardless of who we have to name and shame in the process.

When I got married over a year prior to Donald Trump being elected President, I vowed that only Allah would separate me from my spouse. I intend on keeping that vow regardless of what consequences that decision may have.

Photo courtesy: Adam Cairns / The Columbus Dispatch

Continue Reading


Obituary of (Mawlana) Yusuf Sulayman Motala (1366/1946 – 1441/2019)

Monday, September 9, turned out to be a day of profound anguish and sorrow for many around the world. In the early morning hours, news of the death of Mawlana* Yusuf Sulayman Motala, fondly known as “Hazrat” (his eminence) to those who were acquainted with him, spread. He had passed away on Sunday at 8:20 pm EST in Toronto, after suffering a heart attack two weeks earlier.

Dr. Mufti Abdur Rahman ibn Yusuf Mangera



Dar Al Uloom Bury, Yusuf Sulayman Motala
Which deeds are most beloved to Allah?

Alhamdulillah, by the blessings of Allah (swt) and readers like yourself, MuslimMatters has been an independent platform for our best thought leaders to educate us in our faith and catalyze change through powerful, necessary conversations. Since our humble beginnings as a basic wordpress blog in 2007, our content has remained free.

The Prophet (SAW) has taught us the best of deeds are those that done consistently, even if they are small. Click here to support us with a monthly donation of $10 per month, or even as little as $1. Set it and collect blessings from Allah (swt) for the khayr you're supporting without thinking about it.

A master of hadith and Qur’an. A sufi, spiritual guide and teacher to thousands. A pioneer in the establishment of a religious education system. His death reverberated through hearts and across oceans. We are all mourning the loss of a luminary who guided us through increasingly difficult times.

Monday, September 9, turned out to be a day of profound anguish and sorrow for many around the world. In the early morning hours, news of the death of Mawlana* Yusuf Sulayman Motala, fondly known as “Hazrat” (his eminence) to those who were acquainted with him, spread. He had passed away on Sunday at 8:20 pm EST in Toronto, after suffering a heart attack two weeks earlier. (May the Almighty envelope him in His mercy)

His journey in this world had begun more than 70 years ago in the small village of Nani Naroli in Gujarat, India, where he was born on November 25, 1946 (1 Muharram 1366) into a family known for their piety.

His early studies were largely completed at Jami’a Husayniyya, one of the early seminaries of Gujarat, after which he travelled to Mazahir Ulum, the second oldest seminary of the Indian Sub-Continent, in Saharanpur, India, to complete his ‘alimiyya studies. What drew him to this seminary was the presence of one of the most influential and well-known contemporary spiritual guides, Mawlana Muhammad Zakariyya Kandhlawi (d. 1402/1982), better known as “Hazrat Shaykh.” He had seen Mawlana Zakariyya only briefly at a train stop, but it was enough for him to understand the magnitude of his presence.

Mawlana Yusuf remained in Saharanpur for two years. Despite being younger than many of the other students of Shaykh Zakariya, the shaykh took a great liking to him. Shaykh Zakariya showered him with great attention and even deferred his retirement from teaching Sahih al-Bukhari so that Mawlana Yusuf could study it under his instruction. While in Saharanpur, Mawlana Yusuf also studied under a number of other great scholars, such as Mawlana Muhammad ‘Aqil (author of Al-Durr al-Mandud, an Urdu commentary of Sunan Abi Dawud and current head lecturer of Hadith at the same seminary), Shaykh Yunus Jownpuri (d. 1438/2017) the previous head lecturer of Hadith there), Mawlana As‘adullah Rampuri (d. 1399/1979) and Mufti Muzaffar Husayn (d. 1424/2003).

Upon completion of his studies, Mawlana Yusuf’s marriage was arranged to marry a young woman from the Limbada family that had migrated to the United Kingdom from Gujarat. In 1968, he relocated to the UK and accepted the position of imam at Masjid Zakariya, in Bolton. Although he longed to be in the company of his shaykh, he had explicit instructions to remain in the UK and focus his efforts on establishing a seminary for memorization of Qur’an and teaching of the ‘alimiyya program. The vision being set in motion was to train a generation of Muslims scholars that would educate and guide the growing Muslim community.

Establishing the first Muslim seminary, in the absence of any precedent, was a daunting task. The lack of support from the Muslim community, the lack of integration into the wider British community, and the lack of funds made it seem an impossible endeavour. And yet, Mawlana Yusuf never wavered in his commitment and diligently worked to make the dream of his teacher a reality. In 1973 he purchased the derelict Aitken Sanatorium in the village of Holcombe, near Bury, Lancashire. What had once been a hospice for people suffering from tuberculosis, would become one of the first fully-fledged higher-education Islamic institutes outside of the Indian-Subcontinent teaching the adapted-Nizami syllabus.

The years of struggle by Maulana Yusuf to fulfil this vision paid off handsomely. Today, after four decades, Darul Uloom Al Arabiyya Al Islamiyya, along with its several sister institutes, also founded by Mawlana Yusuf, such as the Jamiatul Imam Muhammad Zakariya seminary in Bradford for girls, have produced well over 2,000 British born (and other international students) male and female ‘alimiyya graduates – many of whom are working as scholars and serving communities across the UK, France, Belgium, Holland, Portugal, the US, Canada, Barbados, Trinidad, Panama, Saudi Arabia, India and New Zealand. Besides these graduates, a countless number of individuals have memorized the Qur’an at these institutes. Moreover, many of the graduates of the Darul Uloom and its sister institutes have set up their own institutes, such as Jamiatul Ilm Wal Huda in Blackburn, Islamic Dawah Academy in Leicester, Jami’ah al-Kawthar in Lancaster, UK, and Darul Uloom Palmela in Portugal, to just mention a few of the larger ones. Within his lifetime, Mawlana Yusuf saw first-hand the fruit of his labours – witnessing his grand students (graduates from his students’ institutes) providing religious instruction and services to communities around the world in their local languages. What started as a relationship of love between a student and teacher, manifested into the transmission of knowledge across continents. In some countries, such as the UK and Portugal, one would be hard-pressed to find a Muslim who had not directly or indirectly benefited from him.

Mawlana Yusuf was a man with deep insights into the needs of Western contemporary society, one that was very different from the one he had grown up and trained in. With a view to contributing to mainstream society, Mawlana Yusuf encouraged his graduates to enter into further education both in post-graduate Islamic courses and western academia, and to diversify their fields of learning through courses at mainstream UK universities. As a result, many ‘alimiyya graduates of his institutes are trained in law, mainstream medicine, natural medicine and homeopathy, mental health, child protection, finance, IT, education, chaplaincy, psychology, philosophy, pharmacy, physics, journalism, engineering, architecture, calligraphy, typography, graphic design, optometry, social services, public health, even British Sign Language. His students also include several who have completed PhDs and lecture at universities. His vision was to train British-born (or other) Muslim scholars who would be well versed in contemporary thought and discipline along with their advanced Islamic learning, equipping them to better contribute to society.

Despite his commitment to the establishment of a public good, the shaykh was an immensely private person and avoided seeking accolade or attention. For many decades he refused invitations to attend conferences or talks around the country, choosing to focus on his students and his family, teaching the academic syllabus and infusing the hearts of many aspirants with the love of Allah through regular gatherings of remembrance (dhikr) and spiritual retreats (i’tikaf) in the way of his shaykh’s Chishti Sufi order.

During my entire stay with him at Darul Uloom (1985–1997), I can say with honesty that I did not come across a single student who spoke ill of him. He commanded such awe and respect that people would find it difficult to speak with him casually. And yet, for those who had the opportunity to converse with him, knew that he was the most compassionate, humble, and loving individual.

He was full of affection for his students and colleagues and had immense concern for the Muslim Ummah, especially in the West. He possessed unparalleled forbearance and self-composure. When he taught or gave a talk, he spoke in a subdued and measured tone, as though he was weighing every word, knowing the import it carried. He would sit, barely moving and without shifting his posture. Even after a surgical procedure for piles, he sat gracefully teaching us Sahih al-Bukhari. Despite the obvious pain, he never made an unpleasant expression or winced from the pain.

Anyone who has listened to his talks or read his books can bear testimony to two things: his immense love for the Messenger of Allah ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) and his love for Shaykh Mawlana Muhammad Zakariya Kandhlawi (may Allah have mercy on him). It is probably hard to find a talk in which he did not speak of the two. His shaykh was no doubt his link to the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) in both his hadith and spiritual transmissions.

Over the last decade, he had retired from most of his teaching commitments (except Sahih al-Bukhari) and had reduced meeting with people other than his weekly dhikr gatherings. His time was spent with his family and young children and writing books. His written legacy comprises over 20 titles, mostly in Urdu but also a partial tafsir of the Qur’an in classical Arabic.

After the news of his heart attack on Sunday, August 25, and the subsequent effects to his brain, his well-wishers around the world completed hundreds of recitals of the Qur’an, several readings of the entire Sahih al-Bukhari, thousands of litanies and wirds of the formula of faith (kalima tayyiba), and gave charity in his name. However, Allah Most High willed otherwise and intended for him to depart this lowly abode to begin his journey to the next. He passed away two weeks later and reports state that approximately 4,000 people attended his funeral. Had his funeral been in the UK, the number of attendees would have multiplied several folds. But he had always shied away from large crowds and gatherings and maybe this was Allah Most High’s gift to him after his death. He was 75 (in Hijra years, and 72 in Gregorian) at the time of his death and leaves behind eight children and several grandchildren.

Mawlana Yusuf educated, inspired and nourished the minds and hearts of countless across the UK and beyond. May Allah Almighty bless him with the loftiest of abodes in the Gardens of Firdaws in the company of Allah’s beloved Messenger (Allah bless him and give him peace) and grant all his family, students, and cherishers around the world beautiful patience.

Dr Mufti Abdur-Rahman Mangera
Whitethread Institute, London
(A fortunate graduate of Darul Uloom Bury, 1996–97)

*a learned Muslim scholar especially in India often used as a form of address
Continue Reading