Connect with us

Family and Community

Bayyinah Institute: First Full Time Classical Arabic On-Campus Program in the US

Omar Usman

Published

on

Alhamdulillah, Bayyinah is proud to introduce the DREAM program – a program where students will experience ten months of intensive study, which will equip them with the quality of Arabic education that has thus far been unsurpassed in the western world. This powerful full-time  curriculum has been designed to remove the cultural barriers that students often face when traveling abroad to study and yet give them the exposure to classical texts and methods of study which have enriched Islamic traditions through centuries and generations. Bayyinah is introducing a system that will combine the best of both worlds – employing the innovative methods of teaching, which Bayyinah is widely known for, while giving classical Arabic instructional texts used throughout our scholarly traditions their full due.

The first batch begins its journey this September insha’Allah. The campus will be a state of the art facility in the heart of the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex in Texas. The nearly 12,000 sq. ft space will comfortably accommodate a batch of fifty students [25 brothers and 25 sisters] each year. For students that will be attending from out of state, the location provides an additional advantage. It is close to the airport and there are several options for affordable, safe and appropriate housing within a square mile of the DREAM location, not to mention a major Islamic center.

The program will be taught by Bayyinah instructors Nouman Ali Khan, AbdulNasir Jangda, and Wisam Sharieff – along with additional modules from visiting scholars.

As the Muslim community in the West matures and move forward, a lot of discourse is taking place regarding the need to develop indigenous scholarship and community leadership. These scholars and leaders need to be well equipped to push our communities in a productive and positive direction. While this program will not produce scholars in and of themselves, it is our hope that Bayyinah can provide the foundation in Arabic and Quranic studies that will enable its students to move forward with a solid and practical foundation in the most crucial subjects needed to properly study Islam. In short, we are producing well qualified students that can truly benefit from scholars and bring that benefit to their communities.

To accomplish this, a thorough, one of a kind curriculum has been developed.

CORE ELEMENT: A rigorous Classical Arabic studies program with extensive focus on a deep literary and linguistic appreciation of the Qur’an. The program will produce graduates with advanced proficiency in key areas of Arabic studies including

  • Grammar: Morphology and Syntax (Sarf & Nahw)
  • Rhetoric: Word Order, Figures of Speech, Embellishments (Al-Ma’aani, Al-Bayaan, Al-Badee’)
  • Literary appreciation (Adab)
  • Qur’anic linguistic analysis
  • Reading & translating classical texts
  • Advanced Composition
  • Fluent Conversational Communication
  • Oral Presentation
  • Research

SECONDARY ELEMENT: The program will also include a memorization program requiring students to complete at least 6 juz of the Qur’an by the end along with a tradition certification (ijazah) in tajweed (proper recitation)

TERTIARY ELEMENT: Students will go through a number of lecture series focusing on linguistic beauty dealing with:

  • Qur’an
  • The 40 Ahadith of Al-Nawawi
  • The Shamail of Tirmidhi
  • Each utterance of the daily prayer and prophetic traditions of Friday sermons

The program steers clear of contentious issues in jurisprudence and theology focusing on the language and the beauty of the sacred text instead. In ten months, our graduates will have sound knowledge of the above, but additionally there will be a focus on instilling the following characteristics:

  • A respect for scholarship and the Islamic scholarly tradition
  • A sound awareness of one’s place as a well trained student, not a scholar
  • A recognition of one’s role as contributor to the efforts of the community

By the end of the full time 10 month program, students who finish will be expected to:

  • Have extensive knowledge of Quranic vocabulary
  • Have a sophisticated understanding of Quranic grammatical analysis
  • Be more than prepared to pass the ACTFL exam with a superior ranking. This allows for up to 16 college credit hours in foreign language.
  • Learn Arabic not only through the innovative means that Bayyinah has become well known for, but also cover classical Arabic texts to learn the traditional method of learning Arabic

The full curriculum outline can be accessed here: Curriculum Outline.

We all come across talented and energetic Muslim youth in our communities. They are helping out at Islamic schools, Sunday Schools, Islamic centers, youth groups, da’wah programs, MSA’s, relief project, and more. These unique individuals are the future of our community and of Islam in America. We talk about their importance in sermons and conferences. We worry about them and think deeply about how to cultivate them into tomorrow’s leaders. A sound future for the Muslim community in this country is predicated on inspiring a generation of mature, learned, balanced, and articulate leaders from within.

In order to acquire such an education, the real possibilities thus far have only been abroad. This is where the Bayyinah DREAM program comes in.

We humbly encourage you to look into your community and help sponsor such individuals. The best investment a community can make is in one of their own.

Lastly, the applications are now open, and at the time of this article roughly 15 spots [5 brothers and 10 sisters] remain.

***

Bayyinah’s campus:

Omar Usman is a founding member of MuslimMatters and Qalam Institute. He teaches Islamic seminars across the US including Khateeb Workshop and Fiqh of Social Media. He has served in varying administrative capacities for multiple national and local Islamic organizations. You can follow his work at ibnabeeomar.com.

90 Comments

90 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Sayf

    April 14, 2010 at 12:26 AM

    Mash’Allah, I hope one day I can be among the students insh’allah. May Allah reward these brothers/sisters for the much needed noble work they’re doing and grant them success in the dunya and akhira, ameen.

    • Avatar

      Hela

      June 6, 2016 at 5:35 PM

      Pleas call me
      At 5106907090

  2. Avatar

    amad

    April 14, 2010 at 12:53 AM

    To be honest, this seems like an amazing opportunity… if folks, who can afford it (and to be honest, the price-tag for the amount of study involved is very reasonable), can take out the time, and who always wanted to learn Arabic, but don’t take advantage of this opportunity, then I think it says something about motivation and intentions.

    I myself have tried the on and off halaqa style Arabic and many other “styles”, and made little progress, because I don’t think there is a substitute for full-time study. The problem with part-time is that there will always be a million distractions that will cause you to miss one class, then two and then finally disband altogether. We can see this in the example of those who went off to Egypt for full-time Arabic and actually learned it. Having this course in the US precludes the need for travel, and potentially better quality (for sure better bilingual command) and more Islamically grounded teachers.

    P.S. Out of curiosity, is Bayyinah still associated with AlMaghrib or independent?

  3. Avatar

    Bayyinah Institute

    April 14, 2010 at 1:14 AM

    Jazakallahu khayr for the comments.

    Bayyinah is a separate and completely independent organization.

    • Avatar

      ummMaryam

      April 14, 2010 at 7:55 AM

      salam alaikum,

      separate, and completely independent…but aren’t you “in association” with them or teamed up some way? The back of the Bayyinah Divine Speech cards say “in collaboration with” AlMaghrib Institute.

      mashallah I thought this was a good thing, and want to make sure it is still the case

  4. Avatar

    Amatullah

    April 14, 2010 at 1:35 AM

    This is such an amazing initiative, may Allah bless Bayyinah Institute and reward them for their efforts.

    InshaAllah I hope it continues running for the years to come.

  5. Avatar

    Hassan

    April 14, 2010 at 7:16 AM

    What time the classes would be? How can working person attend it?

  6. Avatar

    muslimfirst

    April 14, 2010 at 7:27 AM

    I wish I could enrol onto this course but I’m in the UK. : (

  7. Avatar

    Eman

    April 14, 2010 at 8:32 AM

    My husband and I are going to apply soon Insha’Allah, but we wanted to know what texts will students be studying from? In the FAQ video online, it mentioned we would be studying the Alfiyya by Ibn Malik… is that it for Sarf and Nahu? Please respond with details asap. I have emailed but did not get a response.

  8. Avatar

    MR

    April 14, 2010 at 8:54 AM

    Is that really the building? MashaAllah!

  9. Avatar

    Bayyinah Institute

    April 14, 2010 at 10:09 AM

    MR – yep renting out of that building

    umm Maryam – work with each other, but the organizations are both separate and independent of one another.

    Hassan – classes are 6 days a week, 6 hours a day. but its not really something that can be done while working. most people are either taking leave from work or taking time off school to attend

  10. Avatar

    Sayf

    April 14, 2010 at 10:45 AM

    If Bayyinah comes to Toronto I’ll paypal you a hug =D}

  11. Avatar

    F

    April 14, 2010 at 11:23 AM

    Excellent program and intiative. May Allah(swt) put barakah in it.

  12. Avatar

    muslimun

    April 14, 2010 at 12:01 PM

    Assalaamu’alaikum,

    MashaAllah, may Allah reward bayinah for stepping up to make this program possible. Ameen

    I have a question: How many, if any, breaks will their be in the program? And when is the program planned to finish inshallah. If their are no breaks, and the program lasts exactly 10 months, then the program will end at about the near end of June, right?

    Also wil their be a follow up course, or set of lectures online, for the selected students who want to teach arabic?

    Jazakumullahu khairun
    mar

    • Avatar

      Bayyinah Institute

      April 14, 2010 at 12:09 PM

      it runs september 20th through june 26th. there might be a week off in between (around end of december) and obviously a break for eid.

      there might be a follow up for students who want to teach but details have not yet been finalized

      jazakallahu khayr

  13. Avatar

    Nahyan

    April 14, 2010 at 12:43 PM

    MashaAllah.
    InshaAllah the program is successful in its objectives.

  14. Avatar

    Interested sister

    April 14, 2010 at 12:54 PM

    Do you have any suggestions for daycares in the area that are open during class time. Do classes start after fajr?

    • Avatar

      Bayyinah Institute

      April 14, 2010 at 1:10 PM

      we will try to look into that inshallah, but nothing compiled on day cares off hand.

      classes will either be 7 to 3 or 8-4

    • Avatar

      Umm Bilqis

      April 14, 2010 at 1:45 PM

      My dear interested sister this is fyi. Please do not be offended ultimately it is your decision however I firmly believe that daycares don’t care. Here is a website that highlights why.

      http://www.daycaresdontcare.org/

  15. Avatar

    Interested sister

    April 14, 2010 at 12:55 PM

    What prior Arabic experience do you have to have?

    • Avatar

      Bayyinah Institute

      April 14, 2010 at 1:10 PM

      none, but students must be able to pass a basic tajweed test [not advanced rules but basic level]

  16. Avatar

    Arshada

    April 14, 2010 at 1:30 PM

    What does Bayyinah hope the students will do after they graduate from the program ? The more specific you can be, the better. Maybe even give examples. Jezkallah khair

  17. Avatar

    Nihal Khan

    April 14, 2010 at 1:34 PM

    Support the Bayyinah Dream Project! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wjtA9c6Hlj0

  18. Avatar

    Possibility?

    April 14, 2010 at 2:00 PM

    Assalamu Alaikum

    Is there any chance of Bayyinah coming to UK?

    That would be wonderful.

  19. Avatar

    ahmed

    April 14, 2010 at 2:02 PM

    Im currently studying at alazhar. No arabic institue in america will be able to surpass azhar, or madinah or any islamic univeristy in the middle east.

    • Avatar

      Arshada

      April 14, 2010 at 2:40 PM

      alazhar teaches adab also

    • Avatar

      Ridwaan

      April 14, 2010 at 4:06 PM

      Assalaamu alaikum, alhumdulilah I am currently studying at alazhar as well, and I agree with you, but not everyone has the opportunity to study at alazhar or madinah, so we should commend the brothers at Bayyinah for their efforts and make dua that Allah helps them and makes them successful

    • Avatar

      Siraaj

      April 14, 2010 at 4:39 PM

      Been playing with the Magic 8-ball again, huh?

      Siraaj

    • Avatar

      muslimun

      April 14, 2010 at 5:41 PM

      Assalaamu’alaikum,

      Very true, but about the Arabic:
      AlAzhar doesnt teach Arabic to nonarabic speakers. To learn Arabic in Cairo, you must study in institutes like Diwaan or Al-Fajr. From what I’ve heard, they, the institutes, tend to cover Modern Standard Arabic before covering classical Arabic. This is found to make learning classical Arabic even more harder then it actually is for students. But of course you can get a private teacher to follow your requested curriculum…

      Madinah curriculum lasts about 2 years, but its worth it when the prophets mosque is 10 minuites away and every day there are halaqas held by many scholers in the prophet’s mosque.

      However not many people are accepted to Madinah, and the ones who ARE accepted, are only accepted a year after they Apply, During that one year gap, one can do many things, one of which could be to attend Bayyinah Dream!

      Bayyinah Dream provides many unique opportunities that many institutes lack:
      1. Its at home
      2. The curriculum is built upon many other good curriculum making it diverse.
      3. The teachers are from native tongue…
      4. Auxiliary modules
      5. a 10 month course rather then a 2 year less intensive course…

      And another add on is that it fills the spots that of the institutes abroad have but rather it tends to lacks.
      1. An environment such as restaurants where one can practice his/her Arabic.
      2. Scholars to listen to in Arabic in an attempt to practice Arabic.

      You can learn Arabic in Cairo in about 6-9 months. But what you can do in 6-9 is the intensive classical study and practice Bayyinah offers.

    • Avatar

      Ahmed Saleh

      April 14, 2010 at 10:28 PM

      I disagree with this weak comment. It all depends upon the student. If the student works hard, he will get things done anywhere with the blessing of Allah SWT. Although it is prefreable to study in an Arabic country when learning arabic. Just for the record, many people at azhar university do not have great arabic. They understand a great amount, but have really bad grammar skills because they dont work hard enough to preserve what they took before entering the actual university.

      Salams

    • Avatar

      AbdelRahman Murphy

      April 15, 2010 at 9:46 PM

      LOL this guy is hilarious. Best comment thus far. Bravo!

  20. Avatar

    muslimun

    April 14, 2010 at 5:44 PM

    oh, and just wondering, how long does it take oneself to study for the Al-Azhar placement Exams? I’m Talking about using Al-Waadih Series…

    • Avatar

      Ahmed Saleh

      April 14, 2010 at 10:24 PM

      1 year if u speak arabic, 2 years if u dont

  21. Avatar

    Abu Suhaib

    April 14, 2010 at 7:36 PM

    Sounds amazing but I hope the hype can match the class

  22. Avatar

    Ahmed Saleh

    April 14, 2010 at 10:24 PM

    Dear bayinah,
    I think what your doing is great. I have been studying Islamic Studies and Arabic for the past 3 years, and am currently as Azhar University. I just have one request. Please dont tell people that it is possible to learn the Arabic language in only 10 months. It takes more then two years even. Many people who do the Madinah program cant even speak amazing arabic after there done. The Arabic Language is no joke, and as Imam Ashafii Said ” No one can completely encompass this Language except a Prophet (peace and blessings upon them All)” And, when I say learn the Arabic language, I mean seriously learn it, to where you can teach it without looking, and argue against those who try to break it.
    So yes, this looks like a great idea, but it is simply a start for people do go on after wards. Anyone who passes this program successfully should not think he is done his studies. This field takes years to master.

    May Allah bless us All, increase us in knowledge and purify our hearts from bad intentions
    Wsalamu3laikum

    • Amad

      Amad

      April 15, 2010 at 12:37 AM

      JazakAllahkhair Ahmed, for clarifying your earlier comment, BUT I think we also have to be careful about disclaimers, especially when we haven’t experienced the actual thing… let me explain:

      I have known tons of Muslims in my life who are always talking about their Arabic-overseas dream, whether Madinah, Egypt, etc. And most never end up doing it. They also stop reading translations of Islamic books because it’s always about “after I am done mastering Arabic, THEN I’ll start”. The problem is that such an attitude can eventually become debilitating if and when the overseas trip doesn’t materialize.

      So instead of raising all sorts of red flags on the Institute, I think a more productive way to phrase what you are trying to say is that “I encourage all those who have future but uncertain plans to go overseas, to still go ahead and take the opportunity that is available in their backyard, and that it can only be a HUGE head-start if they indeed do end up going overseas”. Same message, different result.

      Finally, I think it’s a mistake to think that there aren’t different methods of teaching a subject, producing different results. We all know that what can be taught in few years in a university-paced environment can be taught in a year in a high-intensity environment. We also know that methodology itself can greatly accelerate or decelerate learning. In the case of Bayyinah, let’s wait until the first batch graduates to make that determination… you may be surprised… may Allah help them succeed in their mission.

      • Avatar

        ahmed

        April 15, 2010 at 4:56 AM

        Jazakallahu Khairan Akhi Amad,

        Wise point. May Allah SWT make the students strong.
        I am with you 100% about not waiting until you have mastered the Arabic language to start reading and searching. But, that wasnt what i was implying at all. I was trying to say that people today DO NOT understand how deep, immense and detailed the Arabic language is. Yes, you are also right about the teaching methods, and yes Allah SWT does what we wills with whom he wills when he wills. Which means if Allah swt wanted to we can all master the Arabic Language in a few weeks and be happy campers. But, let us speak about the normal rather than what massive blessings Allah swt can bestow upon his servant. Normally speaking, and i speak thru slight experience, no matter how intensive the program is, the human mind needs time to consume this information. This Arabic Language is something that needs to be memorized to a certain extent in order to be used the way we want to use it. Sad to say the American way today is, ” as long as I have read it and i understood it, than I can move on. ” As long as I passed the test that means I have a grasped what needs to be grasped and have consumed all that was given to me”. This my dear brother in Islam, is a very bad way of thinking that most people have become used to in the passed. The fact of the matter is, true knowledge takes serious time to be completed. It needs to be built the proper way and then stored in the mind. If we don’t use this method of teaching, then we will have a bunch a people saying they know arabic simply because they went thru intensive programs and passed with honors, and the fact of the matter is later on down the line much of this information may be lost. I have seen this happening with many intensives all around the States. How many people do the 4 year degree in the U.S and pass with honors and still remember half of what they studied. If you ask them about a certain topic they studied, they will say ” man i took that years ago.. as long as I can do my job right today. not to mention how many jobs today don’t even ask you for half the stuff you took during the years of your study, because thats not the way our culture is in America. You are asked to know what you need to know, and the rest can be forgotten. Yes, you can say that the students can revise all that they have taken within this intensive 10 month period, but this is also a very difficult long task because of all that Information you just crammed needs to be re read and things forgotten must be re understood making you feel at the end of the day that you just took your time in the first place…………….

        One last thing, the Arabic language needs to be respected. This is the language of the Quran and Sunnah. Cant we at least give it a proper amount of time to be explained?? Anything given to quickly is not appreciated as much. If someone was introducing you to a group of people that don’t know you, and he explained your entire life in a minute.. would you feel very important??
        May Allah increase us in knowledge
        W3laykum Asalam

        • Avatar

          Zainab

          April 15, 2010 at 12:11 PM

          I don’t think it’s wise of you to pass a judgment on the institute’s teaching methodology until you have experienced it yourself.

          When I FIRST took the Fundamentals of Classical Arabic with Br. Nouman, I didn’t think I’d come out with anything (since I was already studying at a turtle pace with another Arabic teacher… who was Arab and spoke Arabic. It took us an entire year to learn pronouns with her, how was Br. Nouman going to teach us more than THAT in 10 days!?), but I was surprised with the results. His teaching style is UNIQUE. It’s not like the teaching style overseas, neither is it of the Western standards.

          I think we should take a step back and let time decide how effective this program is going to be.

          • Avatar

            Agajuice

            April 15, 2010 at 7:05 PM

            I completely second Sis. Zainab’s comment. I grew up in an Arab country and learnt arabic for 2 years in school yet I feel I learnt so much more with Br. Nouman. He’s an EXCEPTIONAL instructor. His ability to convey complex material in such a natural and simple fashion is truly amazing. His teaching style tops all of the religious and secular instructors’ styles I’ve witnessed in my life.

        • Avatar

          Sister

          April 19, 2010 at 10:43 PM

          Masha’Allah, brother good point. It is a weighty matter indeed.

          Sayings of the Salaf – Lack of Arabic and Bid’ah

          Abdullah b. Zayd Al-Numayrî reports that Al-Hasan Al-Basrî said:
          They (the heretics) were destroyed by their inability in Arabic (al-‘ujmah).
          Al-Bukhârî, Al-Târîkh Al-Kabîr Vol.5 p99.

          And Imâm Al-Shâfi’î said:
          People didn’t become ignorant and didn’t differ amongst themselves except because they left Arabic and leaned towards the language of Aristotle.

          Quoted by Al-Suyûtî in Sawn Al-Mantiq p15. He said on p22:
          I have found Salaf before Al- Shâfi’î indicate what he did: that the cause of heresy (al-ibtidâ’) is ignorance of Arabic language.

          May Allah grant us to the tawfeeq to understand and speak the language of the Qur’an.

  23. Avatar

    Abu 'Ubaidah

    April 14, 2010 at 10:28 PM

    Salaam,

    May Allah(swt) Make your institute a success. Ameen

    One question: Do all students start in the same level? Because not everyone is on the same level, there are others who have an edge. What do you do in this case?

    jazakhallah khair!

    • Avatar

      Bayyinah Institute

      April 15, 2010 at 12:20 AM

      Not everyone is necessarily at the same level coming in, but everyone will begin at the same level. for some it will be new information, for some it might serve as a refresher.

      of course, there will be some who are perhaps overqualified and may have covered most of the curriculum already – that should be vetted out during the application process and they’ll be notified if they are seemingly overqualified.

  24. Avatar

    NAS

    April 15, 2010 at 12:18 AM

    As Salamu Alaikum,

    A question to Al-Bayinnah:

    is this program appropriate for someone who can read the quran pretty well, knows most of the rules of tajweed. Speaks colloquial arabic w/moderate understanding of fus’ha?

    Is the program more advanced that someone in my position can attend and learn much more?

    Jazakum Allahu Khayer, an awesome program by the way, may Allah put His baraka in this effort

    • Avatar

      Bayyinah Institute

      April 15, 2010 at 12:21 AM

      please email admin //at// bayyinah.com with the details of your situation and we can see if the program would be of benefit to you inshallah

  25. Avatar

    Bayyinah

    April 15, 2010 at 12:23 AM

    Sister Eman:

    About the texts to be studied in class I have two things to share with you. Firstly, when students move into modules that build reading fluency, a diverse wealth of excerpts from classical Islamic texts pertaining to Tafsir and Seerah etc will be employed. As for texts that pertain to the subject of Arabic grammar itself, we’ve developed our own unique curriculum deriving from classical works and great works like those of Al-Kafrawi or Al-Izzi etc will be given their due in the course. However, a complete syllabus of sources and to-be-covered materials will be made available only to registered students. The public document is the curricular outline link the article above. Registered students should expect the syllabus via email by the end of June.

    • Avatar

      Eman

      April 15, 2010 at 9:25 AM

      Okay, Jazakum Allahu Khairan. I was trying to decide whether my husband and I will attend and wanted to understand the nahu/sarf curriculum better. My husband taking taking a year off from medical school and investing ~ $25-30K in all for the both of us is obviously a big commitment to make. I guess ultimately, my question is when students complete the program, will they be independent when it comes to understanding Arabic texts, being able to understand grammatical nuances of the Qur’an/Hadith, and moving forward in study of the Arabic language, etc. To study balagha, obviously one must have a very strong background first. And it seemed from the curricular outline that the second 6 week block was dedicated to that, but I wasn’t sure what else was and how in depth we can go in the time.

      Also, students leaving the program are expected to be fluent in Arabic correct? Like IA one should be able to give a speech in Fus’ha, converse in Fus’ha, etc?

      Jazakum Allahu Khairan. I am very excited about the program and hope to be able to attend if its best for us iA.

      • Avatar

        Bayyinah Institute

        April 15, 2010 at 12:47 PM

        you’ll be able to independently research all those things inshallah yes, the program will train you to dig into those texts and find things like the grammatical nuances etc.

        yes it is expected that students will be fluent in arabic inshallah.

        we’d recommend watching this video if you havent already:
        http://bayyinah.com/dream/moving-to-dallas-for-dream/

        although the video covers a lot of the logistical issues of moving to dallas it also discusses the curriculum as well.

  26. Avatar

    Bayyinah

    April 15, 2010 at 12:25 AM

    NAS,
    Based only on what you described in your brief comment, I’d say you have a lot to gain from this program. It depends however on your own academic goals beyond the program. Qur’anic studies depend heavily upon a sound understanding of linguistic intricacies; most if not all of which are completely overlooked in modern standard Arabic.

  27. Avatar

    huzaifa

    April 15, 2010 at 7:46 AM

    @ Bayyinah,

    1) I am from Toronto, and I saw a requirement that all students must be from US. Is it possible to enroll?
    2) Is this course ideal for Huffadh?

    Jazak Allah

    • Avatar

      Bayyinah Institute

      April 15, 2010 at 12:44 PM

      1) you need to work out your visa situation so you can stay here for 10 months
      2) huffaz are the ideal candidate, many of the applicants so far are huffaz

      • Avatar

        Muslimah

        April 15, 2010 at 4:59 PM

        will Bayyinah explore giving Hifdh ijazaat (to those who do not have it yet) along with the tajweed ijazaah?

  28. Avatar

    Sally

    April 15, 2010 at 8:02 AM

    What an exciting step for Bayyinah.. I still have to take a class, but a 10 ms immersion sounds even better…May Allah bless your efforts for bringing solid Arabic education and appreciation of the Quran to N. America!

  29. Avatar

    akhi

    April 15, 2010 at 9:19 AM

    is this open for UK students?

    • Avatar

      Bayyinah Institute

      April 15, 2010 at 12:44 PM

      it is open, but you would have to make sure to take care of your visa/immigration issues appropriately so you can stay in the US legally for 10 months.

  30. Avatar

    Muslim

    April 15, 2010 at 2:03 PM

    Salam bayyinah,

    you know for most muslims in america it is extremely difficult to take 10 months(!) out of thier schedule with school, work, etc.. And the prophet pbuh taught us to make the teaching of this deen easy. It is not possible for those who can’t afford traveling for 10 months and/or taking off from work/school for 10 months either [that would be most muslims-even those that want to take something like this].

    You guys should put all the course content on the internet and allow those who work and go to school to be able to learn Quranic arabic too so those muslims who want to learn but who don’t live in the dallas/fort worth area can benefit or can’t afford the money and to take off from work.

    • Avatar

      Bayyinah Institute

      April 15, 2010 at 3:18 PM

      we already have a curriculum online for those who wish to take it at http://bayyinahsessions.com, and actually the content there is in the process of being moved to bayyinah.com and will be fully posted for free.

      jazakallahu khayr

      • Avatar

        Muslim

        April 16, 2010 at 2:39 PM

        is it free? and is it a complete program on the website or did you give some Arabic to people on the interent and hide from them some?

        • Avatar

          Bayyinah Institute

          April 21, 2010 at 11:51 PM

          not sure what your question is asking ..

          bayyinahsessions.com is not free, but we are in the process of moving the materials to bayyinah.com and making them free.

  31. Avatar

    abu Rumay-s.a.

    April 15, 2010 at 3:42 PM

    barak Allahu feekum…

    Is the material covered for the online 201 series (units 1-10) the same as 10 month course material, more or less, how do they differ?

    what expectations (in terms of level) do you have for those completing your online series (201) and when do you expect to have all the sessions available online?

    • Avatar

      Bayyinah Institute

      April 15, 2010 at 3:52 PM

      10 month program will obviously be much different

      sessions should be available online by next month

  32. Avatar

    Sar

    April 15, 2010 at 11:01 PM

    Alhumdulelah, I’ve been following Br. Nouman’s Dream from the beginning and I have witnessed the power of Dua, and Allah SWT’s will. The support and the energy in this feat is utterly remarkable, I’m sure everyone involved feel’s an immense sense of achievement and excitement. I am just so happy that this is happening, and InshAllah one day I will become one of the students of this outstanding program. My Dua’s are with you brothers always, and I hope you produce students and lovers of Classical Arabic and Quran like never before. Salam Aleykum!

    ps- Your live online talk on TA HA tonight was very informative, and really enjoyed the jokes (Br. Nouman’s Buzz Cut)! Really enjoyed the anecdote on the Dajjal and such as well, LOL.

  33. Avatar

    Abu Suhaib

    April 16, 2010 at 12:40 AM

    What should a person who studies units 1-10 online hope to achieve? For example do the units cover the quran module that will be offered at the dream? Will going through the 10 units help one if they are accepted into the dream program? If so, how..

  34. Avatar

    Sister in Islaam

    April 16, 2010 at 5:14 PM

    Bismillah,

    Asa Wr Wb

    Dear Bayyinah,

    My parents are still not convinced about it being safe for me to live there away from home :'( Will you have dorm rooms in an enclosed area or a gated housing arrangement, a chaperon for the female students, or any such thing for extra security, at least by next year? Something like a hostel? I told them all the current information and they would love me to do this, but they don’t agree with me being in an apartment. Please make du’a that Allah swt gives me a chance to apply and if not, then that He swt replaces me with something better.

    May Allah swt accept all your efforts,
    JazakumAllahu Khayran Katheera,
    Wa Salaam.

    • Avatar

      Zainab

      April 17, 2010 at 12:29 PM

      I wonder how many of us are in a similar dilemma :D lol…

    • Avatar

      Bayyinah Institute

      April 18, 2010 at 1:43 AM

      we can help coordinate so that you can stay with other sisters doing the program, but unfortunately at this time we’re not able to provide any dorming. we know this is an issue for a lot of people, especially sisters, we’re trying to see what we can do inshallah – but it might not be something that we can do in the immediate future

  35. Avatar

    Abu Suhaib

    April 17, 2010 at 8:36 PM

    If I have almost 4 months this summe what are some things I can do to study arabic on my own.

    Lqtoronto has a about 300 hrs on the madinah books which is pretty good
    bayyinah’s 10 units
    shariah program canada has a 2 mo intensive (25 hrs a week) but i would have to move to canada..

    what other advice on books or courses I can take.

    Also will the dream program have extra curricular topics such as khutbah prep and research, counseling, or other imam/youth coordinator related issues, how to lead prayer, etc..

    • Avatar

      Sayf

      April 17, 2010 at 8:53 PM

      I’m in the same boat as you!

    • Avatar

      Muhammad

      April 18, 2010 at 1:53 AM

      Qalam Institute is conducting a khateeb workshop June 3-7 inshallah. Nouman Ali Khan, Yaser Birjas, and Abdulnasir Jnagda all writers here are going to teach it. check out http://www.qalaminstitute.org for information.

  36. Avatar

    Nihal Khan

    April 20, 2010 at 7:21 PM

    Why do some people write ridiculously long emotional comments? Lol, if you want to do the program, then do it. If you don’t, then relax and take a chill pill and perhaps a vacation.

  37. Avatar

    Interesting...

    April 21, 2010 at 1:39 AM

    Salaam, this sounds like such a great idea, but I don’t get one thing…how are people supposed to take off work or school and/or leave their families for 10 months?

    Everything listed above sounds great curriculum-wise, but how many people would really be able to leave their homes, move to Dallas for 10 months, and not have to worry about work/a steady income coming in every month..What about the sisters that want to apply? How would that even be possible for them to move to a different city alone, unless they lived there, and had a random year off?

    This seems like it is only focusing on college students who have just recently graduated, and are interested in a one-year crash course in Arabic. All others wouldn’t even be able to fathom the idea. No disrespect, although I would love to take this course, It seems like it was poorly planned from a logistical standpoint.

    May Allah swt make your institute successful, and I hope to be able to take this for myself someday.

    • Avatar

      Abu Suhaib

      April 21, 2010 at 10:30 AM

      Those who are interested in studying will do so.. However, I agree in the long run that there won’t be too many people interested.

      Can Bayyinah please answer the questions below. I don’t live in Dallas so Qalam institute’s program wouldn’t work. I hope they make good videos of the program though.

      I’ve read the curriculur outline and it sounds great but what will this program hope to offer that other programs don’t have. Also, will it be comparable to studying Arabic in Madinah or other such programs?

      If someone wants to get ready for the dream program and they have the summer what should be studied?

      If I have almost 4 months this summer what are some things I can do to study arabic on my own.

      Lqtoronto has a about 300 hrs on the madinah books which is pretty good
      bayyinah’s 10 units
      shariah program canada has a 2 mo intensive (25 hrs a week) but i would have to move to canada..

      what other advice on books or courses I can take.

      Also will the dream program have extra curricular topics such as khutbah prep and research, counseling, or other imam/youth coordinator related issues, how to lead prayer, etc..

      • Avatar

        N/A

        April 21, 2010 at 5:51 PM

        you can try joining the shariah program online course and just try to catch up to and existing class or get ahead by listening to the recording. then you could continue it during the year and only need to spend a few hours a week.

      • Avatar

        Bayyinah Institute

        April 21, 2010 at 11:53 PM

        the options you listed are good. if you are planning to do dream though, we’d try to do as much hifz of quran as possible before starting if not already hafiz. if you are a hafiz, then the options you listed should be good inshallah

  38. Avatar

    Abu Suhaib

    April 22, 2010 at 12:24 AM

    So if I know about 3 juzz, I should work on memorizing more. Could more details be given on the extra curricular topics that will be studied. For example in one video it was mentioned tajweed, divine speech topics, and tafseer were some extra topics. Will there be more?

  39. Avatar

    Abu Suhaib

    April 22, 2010 at 1:05 PM

    Is there anyway a student can study the first 2 tracks the Quran and classical studies and stop the studies at a discounted rate? Those who have kids can get up to 12 weeks without pay of course for paternal or maternal leave. Kind of like famiy time.. This is fedral law.

  40. Avatar

    Sarah

    April 25, 2010 at 10:41 PM

    shariah program in toronto 2 mo summer intensive 350 canadian each month

    more info here
    http://www.shariahprogram.ca/intensive-arabic-study.shtml

  41. Avatar

    farrukh

    May 14, 2010 at 11:15 PM

    Assalamo alaikum

    Jazak Allah br. Nouman. Your lectures are very interesting, easy to understand and informative, Masha Allah.
    Are you also coming to Canada, since I live in Toronto and eager to take this course inshaAllah.

  42. Avatar

    Abdul Aziz

    May 23, 2010 at 12:38 PM

    salaam,

    What books are utilised to teach the Quranic Arabic module?

    And what classical texts are covered/used in module 2?

    jazakhallah khair

  43. Avatar

    Aslam

    August 13, 2010 at 5:14 PM

    Salaam,

    If we provide all state of art facilities in Chennai, India – will you come here and host similar dream. Please share your interest in visiting Chennai as we’d like to invite you.

    Jazaakumullah khairan.

  44. Avatar

    Mansoor Mirza

    August 24, 2010 at 11:59 PM

    assalamu aliakum

    i live in greater Chicagoland area and i was just curious where is bayyinah institute located in the United States?

  45. Avatar

    anonymous

    November 2, 2010 at 2:02 PM

    just wanted to post for those who were not able to go for the dream program that the shariah program is having its 6 month intensive starting this january. more info is available at their website shariahprogram.ca

  46. Avatar

    Jasmine

    March 15, 2011 at 9:31 AM

    Asalamu alaykum,

    i had a few questions im new to all of this, i only started embracing islam about 2 years ago(i was born into the religion tho). i never knew that such institutes even exist, atleast in the US. i live in NY, is bayyinah in NY? bc im not sure..also i would LOVE to take part in these classes/lectures but as i see these comments are from months ago. if i could get a response with any sort of feedback on this it’d be very much appreciated inshAllah.

    jazakullah khayr

    sister jasmine

  47. Avatar

    Jasmine

    March 15, 2011 at 9:33 AM

    Asalamu alaykum,

    i had a few questions im new to all of this, i only started embracing islam about 2 years ago(i was born into the religion tho). i never knew that such institutes even exist, atleast in the US. i live in NY, is bayyinah in NY? bc im not sure..also i would LOVE to take part in these classes/lectures but as i see these comments are from months ago. if i could get a response with any sort of feedback on this it’d be very much appreciated inshAllah.

    jazakullah khayr

    sister jasmine

  48. Avatar

    Ali Khan

    May 3, 2012 at 11:34 PM

    Assalam o Alaikum
    I am new in London and it seems like Bayyinah Institute don’t have any near plains of coming as-well so, Can you advise me any of good institute  from where I can start learning arabic, as I am new in London so don’t know much about.
    JazakAllah Khair.

    email id: alee.link@yahoo.com

  49. Avatar

    Anam

    April 23, 2013 at 12:49 PM

    Assalamu alaikum brothers and sisters. I am a student of Quraan and am very interested to join the course, bi iznillah. But I wanted to know the approximate amount, inclusive of housing and food, that will be needed till the completion of the course. It’ud be really helpful if some one could provide me with the info. Jazakumullahu Khair.

  50. Avatar

    sofiakhan

    October 28, 2014 at 10:42 PM

    Assalamu Alaikum,
    do we have an online course of bayyinah..
    Quran memorization or any other course.
    iam from india and want to learn with bayyinah

  51. Avatar

    Mona

    November 10, 2014 at 9:03 PM

    I heard about this program. Mashallah it is a great cause. I would like to know if there is any kind of scholarship for Hafizeen? Jazak.

  52. Avatar

    Fatheemaah

    January 30, 2016 at 9:09 AM

    Is it possible to register and attend such a course online?

  53. Avatar

    Fatima hajat

    June 19, 2016 at 2:52 PM

    I would like to donate some of my zakat to go towards the new campus. Can u tell me if u except zakat donations and if u do where can I donate it?

Leave a Reply

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

#Life

How Do Muslims Plan for Disability

Avatar

Published

on

Families with children with disability have an extraordinary set of challenges and blessings.  Disability (or special needs) is a broad term.

Many disabilities will prevent what we often think of as “normal.”  It may hinder or prevent educational opportunities, and employment. Many people with “special needs” can get educated, get married and live long and productive lives.  The problem for many parents of younger children with special needs is that they typically have no certainty about their children’s future needs. Even if the situation looks dire, it may not stay that way.  

How do parents plan for a world where they may not be around to see how things will end up for their special needs children?  What can they do to help their children in a way that does not violate Islamic Inheritance rules?

Certain types of disability, especially the loss of executive decision-making ability, could also happen well into adulthood.  This can be a threat to a family’s wealth and be the cause of internal conflicts. This is the kind of thing every adult needs to think about before it happens.  

The Problem

The issues are not just that parents believe their special needs child will need more inheritance than other children. Muslim parents usually don’t think that. Some parents don’t want their special needs child to get any inheritance at all.  Not because of any ill-will against their special needs child; just the opposite, but because they are afraid inheritance will result in sabotaging their child’s needs-based government benefits.    

Many, perhaps most special needs children do not have any use for needs-based benefits (benefits for the poor).  But many do, or many parents might figure that it is a distinct possibility. This article is a brief explanation of some of the options available for parents of special needs children.  It won’t go over every option, but rather those that are usually incorporated as part of any Islamic Estate Planning.

Please Stand By

Example:  Salma has three daughters and two sons.  One of her children, Khalida, 3, has Down Syndrome.  At this point, Salma knows that raising Khalida is going to be an immense challenge for herself, her husband Rashid and all the older siblings.  What she does not know, however, is what specific care Khalida is going to need through her life or how her disability will continue to be relevant. She does not know a lot about Khalida’s future marriage prospects, ability to be employed and be independent, though obviously like any parent she has nothing but positive hopes for her child’s life.   

In the event of her death, Salma wants to make sure her daughter gets her Islamic right to inheritance.  However, if Khalida needs public benefits, Salma does not want her daughter disqualified because she has her own money.

Her solution is something called a “stand-by special needs trust.” This type of trust is done in conjunction with an Islamic Inheritance Plan and is typically part of a living trust, though it could also be a trust drafted into the last will.  I will describe more about what a special needs trust is below. For Salma, she is the Trustee of her trust. After she dies, she names her husband (or someone else) the successor Trustee. The trust is drafted to prevent it from becoming an “available resource” used to determine eligibility for public benefits such as Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Medicaid and other benefits that go with that.

If it turns out that Salma passes away when Khalida is 5, and her assets are held in trust for her until she is 18 and her Trustee determines she does not need a special needs trust, she will get her inheritance precisely like everyone else based on their Islamic right.  If she does need benefits, the Trustee will only make distributions to Khalida that would not harm her eligibility.

This way, there is no need to deny Khalida her inheritance because of her disability, and she is also making sure giving her daughter inheritance would not harm her daughter’s healthcare or other necessary support.  

Munir Vohra is a special needs advocate and an athlete

The Shape of Special Needs Trusts

A stand-alone Special needs trusts, which is sometimes called a “supplemental needs trust” the kind without the “stand-by” variation I described above, are a standard device for families that have children with special needs. A trust is a property ownership device. A Grantor gives the property to a Trustee, who manages the property for the benefit of a beneficiary. In a revocable living trust, the Grantor, Trustee, and Beneficiary are typically the same person.  

When the trust is irrevocable, the Grantor, Trustee, and Beneficiary may all be different people. In a special needs trust, the person with a disability is the beneficiary. Sometimes, the person with a disability is also the Grantor, the person who created the trust.  This might happen if there is a settlement from a lawsuit for example and the person with special needs wants it to be paid to the trust.  

In many if not most cases, the goal may not be to protect the beneficiary’s ability to get public benefits at all. Many people with a disability don’t get special government benefits.  But they do want to protect the beneficiaries from having to manage the assets. Some people are just more susceptible to abuse.

The structure of the arrangement typically reflects the complexity of the family, the desire of siblings and extended family to continue to be involved in the care and attending to the needs of the person with a disability, even if they are not the person directly writing checks.   

Example: Care for Zayna

Example: Zayna is a 24-year-old woman with limited ability to communicate, take care of her needs and requires 24-hour care.  Zayna has three healthy siblings, many aunts, uncles, and cousins. Her father, Elias, earns about $70,000 per year and is divorced. Zayna’s mother Sameena cannot contribute, as she is on social security disability. However, Zayna’s adult brother and sisters, brother in laws, sister in law and several aunts, uncles want to help Zayna meet her needs E.lyas creates a third party special needs trust that would ensure Zayna has what she needs in the years to come.

Zayna receives need-based public benefits that are vital to her in living with her various disabilities and her struggle to gain increasing independence, knowledge and dignity.  So the trust needs to be set up and professionally administered to make sure that when Zayna gets any benefit from her trust, it does not end up disqualifying her ability to get any needs-based benefit.  

Contributions to the special needs trust will not go against Islamic Inheritance rules unless made after the death of the donor.

If Zayna dies, her assets from the special needs trust will be distributed based on the Islamic rules of inheritance as it applies to her.

When disability planning is not about Public Benefits

Perhaps most families with special needs children do not use any needs-based public assistance.  They are still concerned about special needs and planning for it.

Example:  Khadija, 16, is on the autism spectrum. For those familiar with the autism spectrum, that could mean a lot of things.  For her parents, Sarah and Yacoob, other than certain habits that are harmless and easy to get used to, it means Khadija is very trusting of people. Otherwise, she does well in school, and her parents don’t think she needs way more help than her siblings and she has just as good a chance of leading a healthy and productive life as any 16-year-old girl.  

The downside of being too trusting is that the outside world can exploit her.  If she ends up getting inheritance or gifts, she may lose it. The parents decide that when she gets her inheritance, it will be in a trust that would continue through her life.  There will be a trustee who will make sure she has what she needs from her trust, but that nobody can exploit her.

In some ways, what Khadija’s parents Sarah and Yacoob are doing is not so different from what parents might do if they have a child with a substance abuse problem.  They want to give their child her rights, but they don’t want to allow for exploitation and abuse.

Considering your own needs

There are many people who are easy marks for scammers, yet you would be unlikely to know this unless you are either a close friend or family member, or a scammer yourself.  While this often happens to the elderly, it can happen at just about any age. Everyone should consider developing an “incapacity plan” to preserve their wealth even if they lose their executive decision-making ability.   

There is this process in state courts known as “conservatorship.” Indeed, entire courtrooms dedicate themselves to conservatorships and other mental health-related issues.  It is a legal process that causes an individual to lose their financial or personal freedom because a court has essentially declared them not competent to handle their affairs. Conservatorships are a public process.  They can cause a lot of pain embarrassment and internal family strife.

One of the benefits of a well-drafted living trust is to protect privacy and dignity during difficult times.

Example: Haris Investing in Cambodian Rice Farms

Haris, 63, was eating lunch at a diner.  In the waiting area, he became fast friends with Mellissa; a thirty-something woman who was interested in talking about Haris’s grandchildren.  The conversation then turned Melissa and her desire to start a business selling long distance calling cards. Haris was fascinated by this and thought it made good business sense. Haris gave Mellissa $20,000.00. The two exchanged numbers. The next day, Mellissa’s number was disconnected.

Haris’s wife, Julie became alarmed by this.  It was out of character for her husband to just fork over $20,000 to anyone on the spur of the moment.  What was worse is that the business failed immediately.  

Three months later,  Haris meets Mellissa at the diner again.  She then convinces Haris to invest $50,000 in a Cambodian rice farm, which he does right away.   His wife Julie was pretty upset.

How living trusts helps

As it happened though, Haris, a few years before, created a living trust.  It has a provision that includes incapacity planning. There are two essential parts to this:  The first is a system to decide if someone has lost their executive decision-making ability. The second is to have a successor Trustee to look over the estate when the individual has lost this capacity.  This question is about Haris’s fundamental freedom: his ability to spend his own money.

If you asked Haris, he would say nothing is wrong with him.  He looks and sounds excellent. Tells the best dad jokes. He goes to the gym five times a week and can probably beat you at arm wrestling. Haris made some financial mistakes. Everyone makes mistakes.

Julie, and his adult children Haroon, Kulsum, Abdullah, and Rasheeda are not so sure it’s just a mistake.  The living trust created a “disability panel.” This panel gets to vote, privately, in if Haris should continue to act as Trustee of his own money.  If they vote that he should not manage his own money, his wife does it for him.

The family has a way to decide an important and sensitive issue while maintaining Haris’ dignity, privacy and wealth.   Haris’s friends don’t know anything about long distance calling cards or a Cambodian rice farm; they don’t know he lost his ability to act as Trustee of his trust.  Indeed the rest of the world is oblivious to all of this.

Planning for everyone

Islamic inheritance is fard and every Muslim should endeavor to incorporate it into their lives.  As it happens it is an obligation Muslims, at least those in the United States, routinely ignore or deal with inadequately.  However, there is more to planning than just what shares go to whom after death. Every family needs to create a system. There may or may not be problems with children or even with yourself (other than death, which will happen), but you should do whatever you can to protect your family’s wealth and dignity while also fulfilling your obligations to both yourself and your family.

Continue Reading

#Society

Cleaning Out Our Own Closets This Ramadan: Bigotry

Why Eliminating Hate Begins with Us

Avatar

Published

on

Before Muslims take a stand against xenophobia in the U.S., we really need to eradicate it from our own community.

There. I said it.

There is no nice way to put it. Muslims can be very intolerant of those outside their circles, particularly our Latino neighbors. How do I know? I am a Latina who came into Islam almost two decades ago, and I have experienced my fair share of stereotypes, prejudice, and just outright ignorance coming from my very own Muslim brethren.

And I am not alone.

My own family and Latino Muslim friends have also dealt with their daily doses of bigotry. Most of the time, it is not ill-intentioned, however, the fact that our community is so out of touch with Latin Americans says a lot about why we are often at the receiving end of discrimination and hate.

“Indeed, Allah will not change the condition of a people until they change what is in themselves…” (The Qur’an, 13:11)

Recently, Fox News came under fire for airing a graphic that stated, “Trump cuts aid to 3 Mexican countries,” on their show, “Fox and Friends Weekend.” The network apologized for the embarrassing error, but not before criticism of their geographical mishap went viral on social media. The reactions were of disbelief, humor, and repugnance for the controversial news channel that has become the archenemy of everything Islamic. People flooded the internet with memes, tweets, and comments regarding the ridiculous headline, Muslims included. American Muslim leaders quickly released statements condemning the lack of knowledge about the difference between Mexico and the nations of Central and South America.

Ironically, however, just about two months ago, my eldest son wrote an essay about the bullying he experienced in an Islamic school, which included insults about him being Mexican and “eating tacos” even though he is half Ecuadorian (South America) and Puerto Rican (Caribbean), not Mexican. I include the regions in parentheses because, in fact, many Muslims are just as geographically-challenged as the staff at Fox News. When a group of Hispanic workers came to replace the windows at his former school, my son approached them and spoke to them in Spanish as a means of dawah – teaching them that there are Latin American and Spanish-speaking Muslims. His classmates immediately taunted him saying that the laborers were “his cousins.” Although my son tried countless times to explain to his peers the difference between his origins and Mexico and defended both, they continued to mock Latinos.

On another occasion, a local masjid invited a famous Imam from the Midwest to speak about a topic. My family and I attended the event because we were fans of the shaykh and admired his work. A few minutes into his talk, he made a derogatory remark about Mexicans, and then added with a smile, “I hope there aren’t any Mexicans in the room!” A gentleman from the community stood up behind my husband, who is Ecuadorian, and pointed at him saying, “We have one right here!” Some people chuckled as his face turned red. The shaykh apologized for his comment and quickly moved on. We looked at each other and rolled our eyes. This was nothing new.

Imam Mohamed Alhayek (Jordanian Palestinian) and Imam Yusuf Rios (Puerto Rican) share an intimate moment during the 16th Annual Hispanic Muslim Day. Photo/Caption by Melissa Barreto — at North Hudson Islamic Educational Center (NHIEC).

Once, I visited a Pakistani sister, and as I enjoyed a cup of warm chai on her patio, she turned to me earnestly and said, “You and (another Latina Muslim) are the only educated Hispanics I know.” She then asked me why Latinos did not have “goals and ambitions” because supposedly, all the Hispanic students in her daughters’ school only aspired to work in their parents’ businesses as laborers. She went on to tell me about her Hispanic maid’s broken family and how unfortunate it was that they had no guidance or moral values. I was shocked by her assumptions, but I realized that this was the sentiment of a lot of Muslims who simply do not know a thing about our culture or have not taken the time to really get to know us.

When I accepted Islam back in 2000, I never expected to hear some of the narrow-minded comments and questions I received from those people who had become my brothers and sisters in faith. After all, I came to Islam through the help of an Egyptian family, I declared the Shahada for the first time in the presence of people from Pakistan, and I was embraced in the masjid by worshippers from places like Somalia, Sudan, Palestine, India, Turkey, and Afghanistan. A white American convert gifted me with my first Ramadan guide and an Indian sister supported me during my first fast. I expected to be treated equally by everyone because Islam was for everyone and Muslims have been hearing this their whole lives and they preach it incessantly. I do the same now. As a Muslim Latina, I tell my people that Islam is open to all and that racism, colorism, classism, and xenophobia have no place in Islam.

Nevertheless, it did not take long for me to hear some very ugly things from my new multi-cultural community. I was questioned about whether I was a virgin or not by well-meaning sisters who wanted to find me a Muslim husband. My faith was scrutinized when my friend’s family introduced me to an imam who doubted I had converted on my own, without the persuasion of a Muslim boyfriend or husband. I was pressured about changing my name because it was not “Islamic” enough. I was lectured about things that I had already learned because foreign-born Muslims assumed I had no knowledge. I was even told I could not be a Muslim because I was Puerto Rican; that I was too “out there,” too loud, or that my people were not morally upright.

I know about good practicing Muslim men who have been turned down for marriage because they are Hispanic. On the other hand, I have seen sisters taken for marriage by immigrant Muslims to achieve citizenship status and later abandoned, despite having children. I have been approached by Muslim men searching for their “J-Lo,” who want to marry a “hot” Latina because of the disgusting exploitation of Latina women they have been exposed to from television, movies, and music videos. I have made the mistake of introducing this type of person to one of my sisters and witnessed their disappointment because she did not fit the image of the fantasy girl they expected. I have felt the heartbreak of my sister who was turned down for not living up to those unrealistic expectations, and who continues to wait for a Muslim man who will honor her as she deserves. An older “aunty” once said to my face that she would never let her children marry a Latino/a.

I met a brother named José who was told that he had to change his un-Islamic Spanish name so that he would be better received in the Muslim community, even though his name, when translated to Arabic, is Yusuf! I have been asked if I know any Hispanic who could work at a Muslim’s store for less than minimum wage 12 hours a day or a “Spanish lady” who can clean a Muslim’s house for cheap. I have spoken to Latino men and women who work at masajid doing landscaping or janitorial services who have never heard anything about Islam. When I approached the Muslim groundskeeper at one of these mosques with Spanish literature to give them, he looked at me bewildered and said, “Oh, they are just contractors,” as if they did not deserve to learn about our faith! I have heard that the child of a Latina convert was expelled and banned from returning to an Islamic school for making a mistake, once. I have been told about fellow Hispanics who dislike going to the masjid because they feel rejected and, worse of all, some of them have even left Islam altogether.

Latina Muslims share a laugh during the 16th Annual Hispanic Muslim Day.
Photo/Caption by Melissa Barreto — at North Hudson Islamic Educational Center (NHIEC).

A few weeks ago, news was released about the sentencing of Darwin Martinez Torres, who viciously raped and murdered Northern Virginia teen, Nabra Hassanen during Ramadan in June 2017. The story made national headlines and left her family and the entire Muslim community devastated. Although the sentence of eight life terms in prison for the killer provided some closure to the public, the senseless and heinous act still leaves sentiments of anger and frustration in the hearts of those who loved Nabra Hassanen. Muslims began sharing the news on social media and soon, remarks about the murderer’s Central American origin flooded the comments sections. One said, “An illegal immigrant from El Salvador will now spend the rest of his life in a U.S. prison where all his needs will be met, and his rights will be protected… When we attack efforts to stop illegal immigration and to deal with the criminals coming across the border every day, remember Sr. Nabra… we should all be united in supporting common-sense measures to ensure that our sisters do not walk in fear of attacks. (And no, this is not an ‘isolated case’…).”

Although I was just as relieved about receiving the news that there was finally justice for our young martyred sister, I was saddened to see that the anti-Hispanic immigrant sentiment within our own community was exposed: To assume that Latino immigrants are “criminals coming across the border every day” is to echo the very words that came from current US President Donald Trump’s mouth about immigrants prior to his election to the presidency. To blame all Latinos for a crime committed against one and claim it is not an “isolated case” is to do the same thing that Fox News and anti-Muslim bigots do when they blame all Muslims for a terror attack.

Why are we guilty of the same behavior that we loathe?

I do not like to air out our dirty laundry. I have always felt that it is counterproductive for our collective dawah efforts. It is embarrassing and shameful that we, who claim to be so tolerant and peaceful, still suffer from the very attitudes for which we blame others. As I write this piece, I have been sharing my thoughts with my close friend, a Pakistani-American, who agreed with me and said, “Just like a recovering alcoholic, our first step is to admit there is a problem.” We cannot demand our civil rights and expect to be treated with dignity while we mistreat another minority group, and this includes Latinos and also other indigenous Muslims like Black Americans and Native Americans. I say this, not just for converts, but for my loud and proud, half Puerto Rican and half Ecuadorian children and nephews and others like them who were born Muslims: we need a community that welcomes all of us.

Latinos and Muslims share countless cultural similarities. Our paths are the same. Our history is intertwined, whether we know it or not; and if you don’t know it, then it is time you do your research. How can we visit Islamic Spain and North Africa and marvel at its magnificence, and travel to the Caribbean for vacation and notice the Andalusian architecture present in the colonial era structures, yet choose to ignore our shared past? How can you be proud of Mansa Musa, and not know that it is said his brother sailed with other Malians to the Americas prior to Columbus, making contact with the indigenous people of South America (even before it was “America”)? How can you turn your back on people from the countries which sheltered thousands of Muslim immigrants from places like Palestine, Lebanon, Syria, and Turkey after the collapse of the Uthmani Empire, many of which carry that blood in their veins?

Latino Muslim panelists during “Hispanic Muslim Day” at North Hudson Islamic Educational Center, Union City, NJ Photo/Caption by Melissa Barreto — at North Hudson Islamic Educational Center (NHIEC).

We need to do a better job of reaching out and getting to know our neighbors. In recent years, the Muslim ban has brought Latinos and Muslims together in solidarity to oppose discriminatory immigration laws. The time is now to establish lasting partnerships.

Use this Ramadan to reach out to the Latino community; host a Spanish open house or an interfaith/intercultural community iftar. Reach out to Latino Muslims in your area for support, or to organizations like ICNA’s WhyIslam (Por qué Islam) for Spanish materials. A language barrier is not an issue when there are plenty of resources available in the Spanish language, and we have the universal language that has been declared a charity by our Prophet, Muhammad ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him), and that is a welcoming smile.

There is no excuse.

Continue Reading

#Culture

How to Teach Your Kids About Easter

Don’t tell my dad this, but growing up, I was sure I wanted to be a Christian. It had nothing to do with the theology though, it was – really and truly – all about the chocolate.

Zeba Khan

Published

on

Don’t tell my dad this, but growing up, I was sure I wanted to be a Christian. It had nothing to do with the theology though, it was – really and truly – all about the chocolate.

Don’t get me wrong, I did not grow up in any sort of conservative, chocolate-deprived bubble. My mother was – and still is – a Christian. My father was – and still is – Muslim, and our home was a place where two faiths co-existed in unapologetic splendor.

My mother put up her Christmas tree every year.  We children, though Muslim, received Easter baskets every year. The only reason why I wished I was Christian too, even though I had no less chocolate in my life than other children my age, was because of the confusing guilt that I felt around holiday time.

I knew that the holidays were my mother’s, and we participated to honor and respect her, not to honor and respect what she celebrated. As a child though, I really didn’t understand why we couldn’t celebrate them too, even if it was just for the chocolate.

As an adult I’ve learned that I’m not alone in this conflicted enthusiasm for the holidays of others. Really, who doesn’t like treats and parties and any excuse to celebrate? As a parent though, I’ve decided that the best policy to use with my children is respectful honesty about where we stand with regard to other religions.

That’s why when my children asked me about Easter, this is what I told them:

  1. The holidays of every religion are the right of the people who follow them. They are as precious to them as Eid and Ramadan are to us.
  2. Part of being a good Muslim is protecting the rights of everyone around us, no matter what their religion is. There is nothing wrong with non-Muslims celebrating their religious non-Muslim holidays.
  3. We don’t need to pretend they’re not happening. Respectful recognition of the rights of others is part of our religion and our history. We don’t have to accept what other people celebrate in order to be respectful of their celebrations.
  4. The problem with Muslims celebrating non-Muslim religious holidays is that we simply don’t believe them to be true.

So when it comes to Easter specifically, we break it down to its smaller elements.

There is nothing wrong with chocolate. There is nothing wrong with eggs. There is nothing wrong with rabbits, and no, they don’t lay eggs.

There is nothing wrong with Easter, but we do not celebrate it because:

Easter is a celebration based on the idea the Prophet Isa 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him) was Allah’s son, who Allah allowed to be killed for our sins. Easter is a celebration of him coming back to life again.

Depending on how old your child is, you may need to break it down further.

Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) Created the sun, Allah is not a person whose eyes can’t even look directly at the sun. Allah Created space, Allah is not a person who can’t survive in space. Allah Created fire, Allah is not a person who cannot even touch fire. Allah is not a person, He does not have children as people do. Prophet Jesus [alayis] was a messenger of Allah, not a child of Allah.

Allah is also the Most-Merciful, Most-Forgiving, and All-Powerful. When we make mistakes by ourselves, we say sorry to Allah and try our best to do better. If we make mistakes all together, we do not take the best-behaved person from among us and then punish him or her in our place.

Allah is Justice Himself. He is The Kindest, Most Merciful, Most Forgiving Being in the entire universe. He always was, and always will be capable of forgiving us. No one needed to die in order for Allah to forgive anyone.

If your teacher failed the best student in the class so that the rest of the students could pass, that would not be fair, even if that student had offered that. When people say that Allah sacrificed his own son so that we could be forgiven, they are accusing Allah of really unfair things, even if they seem to think it’s a good thing.

Even if they’re celebrating it with chocolate.

We simply do not believe what is celebrated on Easter. That is why we do not celebrate Easter.

So what do we believe?

Walk your child through Surah Ikhlas, there are four lines and you can use four of their fingers.

  1. Allah is One.
  2. Allah doesn’t need anything from anyone.
  3. He was not born, and nor was anyone born of Him. Allah is no one’s child, and no one is Allah’s child
  4. There is nothing like Allah in the universe

Focus on what we know about Allah, and then move on to other truths as well.

  1. Christians should absolutely celebrate Christian holidays. We are happy for them.
  2. We do not celebrate Christian holidays, because we do not accept what they’re celebrating.
  3. We are very happy for our neighbors and hope they have a nice time.

When your child asks you about things like Christmas, Easter, Valentines, and Halloween, they’re not asking you to change religions. They’re asking you for the chance to participate in the joy of treats, decorations, parties, and doing things with their peers.

You can provide them these things when you up your halal holiday game. Make Ramadan in your home a whole month of lights, people, and happy prayer. Make every Friday special. Make Eid amazing – buy gifts, give charity, decorate every decorat-able surface if you need to – because our children have no cause to feel deprived by being Muslim.

If your holidays tend to be boring, that’s a cultural limitation, not a religious one. And if you feel like it’s not fair because other religions just have more holidays than we do, remember this:

  • Your child starting the Quran can be a celebration
  • Your child finishing the Quran can be a celebration
  • Your child’s first fast can be a celebration
  • Your child wearing hijab can be a celebration
  • Your child starting to pray salah can be a celebration
  • Your children can sleep over for supervised qiyaam nights
  • You can celebrate whatever you want, whenever you want, in ways that are fun and halal and pleasing to Allah.

We have a set number of religious celebrations, but there is no limit on how many personal celebrations we choose to have in our lives and families. Every cause we have for gratitude can be an opportunity to see family, eat together, dress up, and hang shiny things from other things, and I’m not talking about throwing money at the problem – I’m talking about making the effort for its solution.

It is easy to celebrate something when your friends, neighbors, and local grocery stores are doing it too. That’s probably why people of many religions – and even no religion – celebrate holidays they don’t believe in. That’s not actually an excuse for it though, and as parents, it’s our responsibility to set the right example for our children.

Making and upholding our own standards is how we live, not only in terms of our holidays, but in how we eat, what we wear, and the way we swim upstream for the sake of Allah.  We don’t go with the flow, and teaching our children not to celebrate the religious holidays of other religions just to fit in is only one part of the lesson.

The other part is to extend the right to religious freedom – and religious celebration – to Muslims too. When you teach your children that everyone has a right to their religious holidays, include Muslims too. When you make a big deal out of Ramadan include your non-Muslim friends and neighbors too, not just because it’s good dawah, but because being able to share your joy with others helps make it feel more mainstream.

Your Muslim children can give their non-Muslim friends Eid gifts. You can take Eid cookies to your non-Muslim office, make Ramadan jars. You can have Iftar parties for people who don’t fast.   Decorate your house for Ramadan, and send holiday cards out on your holidays.

You can enjoy the elements of celebration that are common to us all without compromising on your aqeedah, and by doing so, you can teach your children that they don’t have to hide their religious holidays from the people who don’t celebrate them.  No one has to. And you can teach your children to respect the religions of others, even while disagreeing with them.

Judaism, Christianity, and Islam are bound by a common thread, and there is much we come together on. Where the threads separate though, is still a cause for celebration. Religious tolerance is part of our faith, and recognizing the rights of others to celebrate – or abstain from celebration – is how we celebrate our differences.

Continue Reading

Trending