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Festival Reflects Pursuit of Social Justice | Inner-City Muslim Action Network (IMAN) | 7th Takin’ It to the Streets Chicago | June 19


The Inner-City Muslim Action Network (IMAN) will hold its seventh Takin’ It to the Streets festival in Chicago on June 19. This festival reflects IMAN’s longing to se

It is well known among Muslims that before Quranic revelation, the Prophet, peace be upon him, was firmly established in the hearts and minds of the broader Meccan society as “the trustworthy one,” a title he acquired in his relentless pursuit of truth and for his unwavering commitment to the more vulnerable segments of society. It is in this spirit that IMAN actively and aggressively reaches out and works alongside a diverse range of organizations, collations, and networks. Indeed, it is our deep conviction that in pursuing these lofty goals, tremendous energy and momentum can be generated at the grassroots community level.

Takin’ It to the Streets has become the largest community-led festival in Marquette Park on the Southwest side of Chicago and the only one of its kind orchestrated by Muslims across the country. “Streets,” as it has become affectionately known, has even garnered national and international media attention as one of the only times that world class Muslim artists, activists, and scholars come together with other community and civic leaders to celebrate the possibility of hope and positive social change. While some may continue to cast Muslims in the United States as a partly foreign, threatening, and suspect population, Takin’ It to the Streets stands in defiance to these images as it celebrates the contributions and commitment of Muslim leaders working for a just and more humane society.

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This year, IMAN is honored to host Imam Zaid Shakir, Imam Suhaib Webb, Usama Canon, and many other spiritual leaders that will discuss the importance of spiritual-healing, working for good, and our duty to faith and activism.

IMAN Staff

Keep supporting MuslimMatters for the sake of Allah

Alhamdulillah, we're at over 850 supporters. Help us get to 900 supporters this month. All it takes is a small gift from a reader like you to keep us going, for just $2 / month.

The Prophet (SAW) has taught us the best of deeds are those that done consistently, even if they are small. Click here to support MuslimMatters with a monthly donation of $2 per month. Set it and collect blessings from Allah (swt) for the khayr you're supporting without thinking about it.



  1. SisAnon

    June 12, 2010 at 11:14 AM

    I WISH I could make it to this. Seems like it will be a great event insha’Allah.

  2. Sister

    June 12, 2010 at 1:27 PM

    That’s good that IMAN is reaching out to the community and working alongside with them. However, I do not see how compromising our religion and having bands of people singing together, using musicial instruments, and having women sing in front of groups of men is halal.

    It seems that the outcome is to show the greater community that we are like “them”. But we aren’t. We may have similiarities and are part of this society. But this does not mean that we should allow ourselves to do things that Islam does not allow.

    Taken above it says: “Takin’ It to the Streets stands in defiance to these images as it celebrates the contributions and commitment of Muslim leaders working for a just and more humane society.”
    I think that we could possibly prove this in other ways.

    wallahu alem

    • Siraaj

      June 12, 2010 at 1:48 PM

      They’re doing excellent work within the community, but your point is well-taken. I think some of them see hip-hop as the bridge to reaching out to the poorer communities in the area, and there’s no doubt it CAN be a channel of access, but it seems that despite the criticism which you have raised (and others), they feel their approach is the best one to use. I think they also feel legitimized due to the scholarship that attends their events (not sure who has said what to them directly, if at all).

      I prefer the approach of Project Downtown, which simply provides on a consistent weekly basis to the southside community different types of amenities minus the hip-hop. Iman may also have similar weekly programs (I’m not aware of them because I haven’t looked it up), but I think if they exercised some of that Muslim intellect, they’d find creative ways to bring in the people without the nonsensical hip-hop and women dancing on stage, and such.


  3. Hamza21

    June 12, 2010 at 10:14 PM

    wow the replies by Sister and Siraj are the definition of “hating“. IMAN has been doing great work for years while others do nothing. So while others do nothing but criticize they have actually have done something positive for years.

    As far as Imam Zaid Shakir he has talked music in this video towards at 3:16. He says “mubah is the best opinion”. Imam Suhaib has made his views on music known through his website (
    no consensus on this issue and it is one that is open to interpretation. Therefore, there should be width in our dealing with it.”

    • Amad

      June 13, 2010 at 3:22 AM

      I don’t think they are “hating”, br. Hamza
      They are expressing their disapproval of an ASPECT of Iman’s work, which I believe is a small aspect.

      The fact that we are putting it on MM here probono, shows that we respect their work and their contribution to the Chicago community. No one can deny that.

      May Allah help them in spreading the good, and forgive them for their mistakes, because none of us are exempt from making them.

    • Siraaj

      June 13, 2010 at 4:38 PM

      Yes, music is a debatable issue, but the type of music and performances which occur at the “Takin’ to the Streets” events are not debatable – a number of them (not all) are deplorable and despicable.

      Despite that, as Amad said, I recognize the good they’re doing for the community, and commend them for it – I didn’t ask that they cease and desist, simply that they find a different path to outreach while doing the excellent work they’re doing.

      Even if the musical acts that went up were within the realm of scholarly disagreement, I think THAT would be a hugely positive step.


      • muslim

        June 14, 2010 at 3:19 PM

        Having ‘muslims’ do hip hop as a means of promoting Islam is comparable to having muslim girls win miss USA pagents to “promote” the religion; they are both unacceptable actions. The law of God is the law of God. It’s too bad muslims promote themselves in defiance of the religion as a means of supporting it; i dont get it.

        Also I’m suprising muslim matters is promoting IMAN for these events. What’s next promoting a Shakira or 50 cent concert? Could you tell me when is the next Akon concert coming to Chicago? (Akon is muslim; also note the internet sarcasm)

        Volume 7, Book 69, Number 494v:

        Narrated Abu ‘Amir or Abu Malik Al-Ash’ari that he heard the Prophet saying, “From among my followers there will be some people who will consider illegal sexual intercourse, the wearing of silk, the drinking of alcoholic drinks and the use of musical instruments, as lawful. And there will be some people who will stay near the side of a mountain and in the evening their shepherd will come to them with their sheep and ask them for something, but they will say to him, ‘Return to us tomorrow.’ Allah will destroy them during the night and will let the mountain fall on them, and He will transform the rest of them into monkeys and pigs and they will remain so till the Day of Resurrection.”

        – why would people make music halal and then be punished for it?

        • Siraaj

          June 15, 2010 at 11:48 AM

          There’s a long and protracted debate from a minority of scholars who disagree with the authenticity of the hadeeth and its meaning as well, so in the end, the issue of music remains a matter of dispute due to the minority opinion.

          Having said that, I’m not aware of any opinions that legitimize some of the more interesting performances on stage. From what I’ve seen, this is very similar to what occurred a number of years ago at Purdue, where a considerably large minority of Muslims within the community took the “daw’ah at any cost” mentality and had:

          1. Sisters in full hijab sitting in churches and singing hymns with the congregation.
          2. Da’ees telling people of various faith groups that, “We’re all going to heaven, we’re all the same,” with the express purpose of then bringing them to their Muslim events and then converting them.
          3. Muhajjaba sisters from Muslim countries telling converts not to wear hijab and to pretend as though they were still nonMuslim to draw in other nonMuslims. My wife remains close friends with one of the sisters told to do this.

          There’s a thought process in place that slowly erodes away at our external practices because it’s “bad for daw’ah”. Niqab? Bad for daw’ah. Beards? Bad for daw’ah. No music / acceptable music? Bad for daw’ah.

          I tend to think inconsistent positions are bad for daw’ah. Like, we tell nonMuslims that they exploit women in the media, putting them on stage, dressed as they are because they’re not fully covered. Then we allow the same, but not for the dolla(r), but for the daw’ah.

          Daw’ah requires that we do the best actions within the realm of what is acceptable – we leave what is out of our control to Allah. Those who are sincere will come because they are sincere and Allah wants to guide them, not because we failed to convince people. Our job is simply to convey with what resources we have, not flip hearts.

          As for MM’s support of the program, as mentioned earlier, the overall good that comes out of this event far outweighs it’s negatives. The practical reality of Muslim work is that no matter how you try to keep your own practice as “pure” as possible, the larger community varies in its perspectives on what is appropriate and what is inappropriate, and if we could only work together with 100% agreement, our work will grind to a halt.

          The larger benefit of helping the needy is something we all agree to, and the benefit that comes out of the event we hope is insha’Allah outweighing the harm of the musical acts that are present. Allah knows best, our intention is to promote the good of the event.


          • Middle Ground

            June 15, 2010 at 2:43 PM


            Good points Siraaj… if I may add a couple of comments. This should NOT mean that if a sister does not wear hijab, she should be excluded from making dawah. The dawah would, Inshallah, help such a sister get closer to Allah. By that reasoning, I should not be involved in dawah for all the fajrs I have missed.

            Secondly, many reverts have left Islam because of certain muslim’s stringent views on the total prohibition of music. If that happens to reverts, what about people who are interested in Islam? Can we really tell them, straight off the bat, that if they accept Islam they will have to totally give up music?

          • sabirah

            June 15, 2010 at 3:06 PM

            it always depends how you word things. As a new revert I have been given prohibition to enter someones house with a picture on my tshirt (a wee elephant), forbidden to go to the shopping mall because there is music in some shops, made to scrub my dishes 7 times with prayer because i ate kafir food before my shahada on it and am ignored outside the masjid because i didn’t wear hijab.
            I think sisters should be given more dawah training, they can stuff more things up than do good with bad rethoric but good intentions (this is, as I’m unmarried and my husband doesn’t think for me… )

          • Siraaj

            June 15, 2010 at 4:46 PM

            Walaykum as salaam,

            Because Islam demands a complete reformation and transformation of life, perspective, habits, and practices, it wouldn’t be wise to begin with external details, many of which are debatable – unfortunately, those details = islam to many Muslims because that’s their daily practice of it.

            Of course, we start them off with learning to pray and helping them have a better and closer spiritual relationship with Allah first. I also believe the community should find each new convert an experienced mentor who can prioritize their learning and teach the ropes of dealing with the strangeness, inconsistencies, and unordered priorities from individuals they’ll encounter on this journey. I think this is where the value of choosing a fiqh madhab shines because it removes the need for delving into esoteric fiqhi details when all the person really wants is to worship Allah.

            As for women performing daw’ah minus appropriate headgear, I don’t know the ruling on that, haven’t read anything substantive either way on it except the general ruling of hijab itself, so don’t have much to offer on that discussion.


          • Abd- Allah

            June 15, 2010 at 5:08 PM

            This should NOT mean that if a sister does not wear hijab, she should be excluded from making dawah. The dawah would, Inshallah, help such a sister get closer to Allah. By that reasoning, I should not be involved in dawah for all the fajrs I have missed.

            @ Middle Ground, there is a BIG difference between a woman not wearing proper hijaab who is giving dawah, and between some one who missed fajr and giving dawah.If you miss fajr, this has no impact on the person whom you are giving dawah to and he won’t even know that you missed fajr, so this is completely irrelevant, albeit that if you are missing fajr regularly then maybe you are not even qualified to be giving dawah? But in any case, a woman not wearing hijaab might be able to give dawah to other women, but to her to go out in public and give other men dawah without wearing proper hijaab, then that is not permissible on so many levels.

            @ Siraaj, those minority of scholars who dispute the authenticity of this hadith in Bukhari are by no means scholars of hadith. The only one who disputed the chain of that hadith in Bukhari was Ibn Hazm and only some of the modern people followed him blindly just because what he says serves their own purposes and opinions. Well this hadith has many chains which are recorded by other than Bukhari, and so the criticism of Ibn Hazm were about the chain of Bukhari only, not to mention that they were inaccurate because Ibn Hazm rahimahullah was not a scholar of hadith. So there hasn’t been a scholar of hadith who have criticized that hadith in Bukhari or said that it wasn’t authentic, and most of the people today who make that claim are blindly following what Ibn Hazm said without them having any real knowledge on the issue, and they just take what he said because it suits them.

            @ hamza21, using music for one’s own personal entertainment/pleasure is haram, but using music to give dawah to the non-muslims and to use music to present Islam is an innovation! So either way, what they are doing is wrong, regardless of whether you have some fallacious fatwas which try to say that music is permissible.

  4. Amir (MR)

    June 13, 2010 at 12:52 PM

    If only IMAN got more media coverage instead of other Muslims.

    • Abu Noor Al-Irlandee

      June 13, 2010 at 12:59 PM

      Amir, I agree with your sentiment, but the truth is alhamdulillaah IMAN does get a lot of media coverage. What we need and inshAllah it is happening are more organizations like IMAN all over the country.

  5. Middle Ground

    June 15, 2010 at 5:14 PM


    @abd-allah… let’s just agree to differ. Why you think you have the right to decide who is qualified to give dawah is beyond me. Maybe you are at the spiritual stage where you are totally sinless and do nothing wrong, but guess what… not everyone is an angel like you.

    • Abd- Allah

      June 15, 2010 at 5:25 PM

      Middle ground, it is NOT about whether a person commits sins or not, because every human being is a sinner! I don’t appreciate your sarcasm about me being “totally sinless and do nothing wrong” either…

      The point is that when a person is representing Islam in public, his actions, image, statements, and everything about him automatically are perceived as being a part of Islam by the person whom he is talking to, or at the very least that person will think that Muslims are hypocrites because they are preaching something which they don’t practice. So if a woman who is not wearing hijaab for example is giving dawah to a man and then he asks her about modesty and lowering your gaze and covering up and why do women cover in Islam, what will she tell him? What will her answer really be?

      The other thing which many don’t understand is that giving dawah is supposed to be done by those of us who have enough knowledge to do so, and it is not for every Muslim who might not even know the basics himself to go out and give dawah to others before learning the teachings of Islam himself first. Imam Bukhari titled a chapter in his saheeh as “the chapter of knowledge before talk or action.” Having the required knowledge to give dawah and to go out and talk in the name of Islam is very important and it is one thing which is neglected by many. If a person is still learning more about his own deen, then good for him and may Allah increase him in knowledge and eeman, but he should not go out and represent Islam to others because he will undoubtedly make a lot of mistakes and give people the wrong information.

      • Middle Ground

        June 15, 2010 at 5:28 PM


        If you don’t appreciate the sarcasm, stop giving that impression. And like I say, let’s just agree to disagree.

        • Abd- Allah

          June 15, 2010 at 5:47 PM

          Agree to disagree is such an empty phrase. If we disagree then we should take it back to what Allah and His messenger peace be upon him have said about what we disagree on, so this way we should both agree on the truth rather than agree to disagree. Whoever came up with that statement needs to learn more from the scholars.

      • Siraaj

        June 15, 2010 at 5:45 PM

        Salaam alaykum Abd-Allah,

        I understand where you’re coming from on the issue, and I’ve read Ibn Hajr’s statements (translations, anyway) on the 9 chains he presented, and not presenting more simply because he didn’t want to belabor what was obvious (in his opinion).

        Nonetheless, the practical reality is that the majority of people don’t know the difference between which scholars are qualified and which are not, and most of us who don’t follow this opinion are not authorities ourselves, so a display of anger and outrage at why people can’t see what is so obvious to us is counterproductive.

        We have to acknowledge that people will for reasons of their own choosing follow different scholars and different opinions, sometimes only one scholar, sometimes multiple scholars, and sometimes mixing and matching opinions for the sake of convenience. It’s too much of a mental overload to figure out who is doing what and why – unless one has demonstrable evidence, it’s best to assume those who are within the realm of ahlus-sunnah are doing their best to either please their Creator or at the very least avoid His displeasure.

        Believe me, when you realize what you’re really responsible for and what you’re not, you’ll be able to disassociate responsibility for matters outside the realm of your responsibility, and you’ll be a happier person for it because you’ll be able to focus on teaching and changing the most important person that needs reformation – yourself.

        And btw, that advice goes double for the “daw’ah at any cost” folks.


        • Abd- Allah

          June 15, 2010 at 6:15 PM

          Akhi Siraaj, my point wasn’t about being responsible for other people, they are free to make their own decisions, and it is only natural for me to not feel good when I see a fellow Muslim making the wrong decisions the same way I would feel when I realize that I have made a wrong decision myself, but none the less, this is their own choice. However, a person choosing to listen to music for their own entertainment is one thing, but to incorporate it as part of presenting Islam to others is something completely different and innovation in the deen, and while it might be their personal choice to listen to music for entertainment, but when it comes to representing Islam it affects every Muslim, so we all have the right to speak up and voice our opinion.

          Here is a similar example even if it is not completely the same. The way some Muslims misinterpret certain aspects of Islam and use it to justify their acts of violence and terrorism. They might be free to have their own understanding of Islam, but when they start presenting this to everyone else as Islam itself, then that is where the rest of us have to speak up. By this, I am not talking about individuals who listen to music, but about the individuals or organizations who use music when presenting Islam to others, and that goes beyond whether music is haram or not, and is actually an innovation in the deen as several scholars pointed out.

          By the way, I was not putting on a “display of anger and outrage” and I hope no one perceives it as such.

          But my whole point is that if a person is free to choose a certain opinion about music for his own personal thing, that is one thing, but to present it as part of Islam then that is not really acceptable, especially since it is a minority opinion. For example, I hold the opinion that pictures of humans or animals are not permissible unless if there is a need for them, however I know that this is the minority opinion (albeit the strongest opinion on the matter, smile) and I don’t present this as being a part of Islam when I am presenting Islam to the non-muslims. The same thing with the issue of hijaab, believe it or not, some people actually claim that hijaab is not obligatory, and while people are free to wear hijaab or not, but when they start presenting their own opinion as part of Islam then that is the problem. Similarly when there is music and women singing in front of mixed gatherings all in the name of Islam, then I think it is the responsibility of the rest of us to speak up, as we will be held responsible for the actions of those Muslims, even if we are not responsible for their own individual choices.

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