Connect with us

Family and Community

UnMosqued ReMosqued: Western Masajid and the Search for Community

[section_title title=Part 1]

This post is meant for the the Muslim communities in the West where Islamic Centers and Masajid are the hub of community activity. When referring to a masjid, we do not mean where we make the actual salah, we mean the whole institution, the center and the community that it envelopes. It is a blessing that this conversation is taking place. As the response to, “Mosques are Missing the Point” pointed out, this topic resonates with so many; there is a thirst for many to come back to the House of Allah. 

Empty structures

Support MuslimMatters for Just $2 a Month

MuslimMatters has been a free service to the community since 2007. 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.

Amenities are great, but people matter more; I look at the churches here in the Northeast – phalerate structures with stained glass windows, cavernous sanctuaries, and shiny steeples. They were probably built by devout settlers hundreds of years ago, on large parcels of land, but they are empty, dead spaces. The people who built them must have sacrificed, much as our elders have, in making them.

Don’t get me wrong; my heart sings when I see the copper domes and the carved wooden mimbars of our mosques.  But what use are these if no one is coming to these palatial masajid? It seems that the boards of Islamic nonprofits invest in physical assets rather than human capital. Only 44% of all Imams are employed full-time and paid. Half of all mosques have no full-time staff. Program staff such as youth directors or outreach directors account for only 5% of all full-time staff. With all due respect to their knowledge and status, 66% of Imams were born abroad and many cannot relate to my generation, much less that of my children.

What is happening in our mosques?

Ads by Muslim Ad Network

People stop going, they stop attending. This doesn’t mean that they do not pray, it means that they are not attached to one particular masjid on a regular basis, nor is the masjid a relevant part of their lives. They do not know the people alongside whom they worship. The masjid is not a place they would reach out to if they were sick or needed help, to learn or to give.

In many communities, the very place that was meant to bring Muslims together has become an anathema for the community— associated with fighting, control, and divisions like little fiefdoms.

A recent hashtag on Twitter – #unmosqued – offers a poignant look into reasons why people have stopped attending the masjid or stopped being an active part of the community. This was spurred by a RadTalk on the topic, and has now evolved into a major documentary.

Some of the tweets and comments particularly caught my eye because they said things that many of us do not want to hear. The majority of grievances were from three major groups who have had abusive mosque experiences – new Muslims, youth, and women.

New Muslims

A sister shared an experience on how some of a particular masjid’s members asked a person to delay taking their shahadah until the next Jumu’ah, so more people could be there to see the “trophy of the day.” Boards tout how many conversions take place in the masjid but have nothing to offer the new Muslims after shahadah. This solid blogpost (and its responses) on what masajid need to do for converts, is very relevant to the discussion.

Youth

Aser Mir, a UK citizen, says the downfall of the youth as they turn to drugs, alcohol, and fornication in Muslim majority areas where there is a mosque on every corner is a troubling matter, “Many simply turn to mosques for Friday prayers or just ritual worship only. Many don’t turn to mosques at all. Others feel they can’t turn to their mosques. So, in effect, you can be attending the masjid or not and still be unmosqued.”

In a recent report by Ihsan Bagby regarding mosques in America, many mosque leaders shared the difficulties they are facing. Bagby writes, “The real challenge for them is not radicalism and extremism among the youth, but attracting them and keeping them close to the mosque.”

Women

“The brothers do not know the concept of lowering their gaze and love grouping themselves in front of the doors.”

This is a common complaint by women who feel intimidated or are made to feel less because they ‘dared’ venture into a masjid.

“When a female has been a Muslim her entire life, and still does not know who to go to for questions about the religion. #Unmosqued #Cmon.”

I personally don’t have this issue since I have access now, but there were years when my only access was online fatwas, until I met a young British scholar. But once she left the country there were years where I didn’t know who to turn to for my questions.  Many Muslim women face this issue.

Other MuslimMatters contributers have had similar experiences. Ify Okoye tweeted, “At some mosques, unwelcome mat is unfurled w/ indignities tht remind us tht ‘this isn’t the Islam women were promised’ #unmosqued.” She has written prolifically about her experience at masajid.

Like many women, MM’s Ruth Nasrullah has been unmosqued because she was tired of not being included in the decision-making process at her local Islamic Center, and when her opinion was asked it was so uncomfortable.

For all those who don’t believe that this is the role of the masjid and that it should be purely a place for salah, read this hadith related by  ‘A’isha raḍyAllāhu 'anha (may Allāh be pleased with her):

“There was a black slave-girl who belonged to an Arab tribe. They set her free and she stayed with them. She said, ‘One of their girls once went out wearing a red leather jeweled scarf. She put it down or it fell off, and a kite flew by it as it was lying there and, thinking it was meat, made off with it. They looked for it but could not find it, and so they suspected me of taking it.’ They began to search her and even searched her private parts. The girl went on, ‘By Allah, I was standing with them when the kite flew over and dropped it and it fell among them.’ I said, ‘This is what you suspected me and accused me of and I am innocent of it. There it is.'”

‘A’isha said, “She came to the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, and became a Muslim. She had a tent or small hut in the mosque. She used to come to me and talk with me. She never sat with me without saying:

‘The day of the scarf was one of the marvels of our Lord

Yes indeed! He surely rescued me from the land of unbelief.’

“I asked her, ‘What is it with you? Whenever you sit with me, you say this. So she told me the story.” (Sahih Bukhari)

She was a woman, a youth, a minority, a convert, oppressed, poor and lived IN the masjid of the Beloved ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him). Today she may have been unmosqued.

1 of 2

Support Our Dawah for Just $2 a Month

MuslimMatters has been a free service to the community since 2007. 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.

Hena Zuberi is the Editor in Chief of Muslimmatters.org. She leads the DC office of the human rights organization, Justice For All, focusing on stopping the genocide of the Rohingya under Burma Task Force, advocacy for the Uighur people with the Save Uighur Campaign and Free Kashmir Action. She was a Staff Reporter at the Muslim Link newspaper which serves the DC Metro. Hena has worked as a television news reporter and producer for CNBC Asia and World Television News. Active in her SoCal community, Hena served as the Youth Director for the Unity Center. Using her experience with Youth, she conducts Growing Up With God workshops. hena.z@muslimmatters.org Follow her on Twitter @henazuberi.

21 Comments

21 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Ruth Nasrullah

    April 8, 2013 at 8:50 AM

    Asalaamu alaikum, Hena. Great post on a topic that’s crucial for the American Muslim community to address.

    Since you mentioned me and I live in Houston, I’d like to point out that the Clear Lake Islamic Center (themasjid.org) is a shining example in many ways of how a masjid can get it right.

    • Hena Zuberi

      Hena Zuberi

      April 9, 2013 at 9:04 PM

      Wa alaykummas salam wa rahmatulah,
      JazakAllah khayr for your feedback. We have discussed this amongst the sisters and you have been writing about it for a long time, it just took this talk & documentary to the get the word out.

      I have heard great things about Clear Lake Islamic Center. Tell us more about what they do right please.

      • Avatar

        ruth nasrullah

        April 10, 2013 at 9:26 AM

        Physical: the CLIC is clean, well-maintained, smells nice, is organized, has comfortable lounge areas, a gym, a kids play center that is manned by volunteers, a clear glass divider between men and women’s prayer spaces, clean and fully-stocked kitchen areas. Staff: The assistant imam is a full-time administrator, they recently hired a youth coordinator, of course Sh. Waleed Basyouni is a great asset in terms of knowledge and vision. Organizational culture: There is an expectation that children will not run around screaming and behaving wildly, the facility is green, there is openness to women’s involvement, there is a dedication to interfaith and active outreach to the community. They have a well-maintained website with accurate information posted and a Constant Contact email newsletter.

        There’s probably more to it than that, since I don’t go often. It’s the only masjid I ever go to, though.

  2. Avatar

    Asif

    April 9, 2013 at 1:07 AM

    AsA – Great article and well presented. I have experienced all the issues you have presented and have held same opinions for decades. I fully concur with the question or statement Lani Azhari posed. What is the function of a masjid especially in the west?

    Our local masajids shud be the local “watering holes” for the area muslims but they are not. The greatest disservice to local Muslims is the service of an immigrant imam who is not connected to local issues and is not able to provide ANY guidance. I dont give charity to a mosque regularly, even my area masjid, for they dont publish their financials to public as they must under 501c charter.

    I tried for over a year, in my local masjid in New Tampa, FL, to bring about changes to bring the young to the “property” of the masjid via different programs and then let opportunities bring them further in but to no avail. The BOD is a bunch of self-egotistical group and no less then walking-dead.

    We talk long and tall about unity, charity, rightousness, caring, cleanliness, etc. “Do as I say, not as I do.” Anyways, you get my point and I am regurgitating all you have so aptly reported on.

  3. Avatar

    Asif

    April 9, 2013 at 1:35 AM

    To those who read and vote on comments, please dont! YOUR votes dont carry as much weight as your comments do. So, please, take part in the duscussion so MM can know more about the community and this issue can grow to ever increasing awareness. Also, please let as many people know of these article series aa possible.

    I have said, over decades, that masajids should not exist as they do in the west but be part of a Muslim Community Center. I am glad to see someone talk on the same issue and, now, feel that Islam in the West might florish with us as Allah’s representatives – this designation carries all the aspirations this article has touched upon.

    Is there hope for us and our faith? Please dont tell me there is since Allah has promised to safeguard Islam for He has but not the Muslims if we dont act as Muslims that care for concerns “besides our own selves.”

    Hena and I may very well understand that these changes will bring about a blessing not dicussed in the article and that being the prospect of an American unified ummah – with gradients, of course.

  4. Avatar

    Aqeedah Awliya

    April 9, 2013 at 11:10 AM

    If people stop going to mosque it’s their problem. The need to feel attached to a community might be the root of the problem. Before anything else, going to a mosque and pray there is gaining 20something more sawab, so why would anyone stop going there? What’s the point of praying at home when you have the chance to go to a mosque. I think the problem is some people regard mosques as community clubs, no they are not

    • Avatar

      Ruth Nasrullah

      April 9, 2013 at 11:28 AM

      ASA. You have a valid point about the purpose of a masjid. However, some masajid put obstacles in the way of prayer. As an example, if women are behind a wall or in separate room they can’t see and follow the imam. This is a potential problem if a prayer is held which a woman is not familiar with, such as a janazah prayer; a woman has to rely on following the women she can see. If no one there knows the prayer all those women are left on their own to improvise as best they can.

    • Hena Zuberi

      Hena Zuberi

      April 9, 2013 at 10:06 PM

      JazakAllah Khayr for your perspective. Prayer is of course the most important part of attending the masjid but there are maqasid behind the congregational salah. Why are we asked to pray together, why 5 times, why are asked to pray Jumuah beyond the local community masjid and the Eidain with an even broader community. There are definite wisdoms behind these commands.
      We are supposed to worried about our brothers and sisters in Islam, inquire about their deen and dunya.

  5. Avatar

    Ghazala

    April 9, 2013 at 10:12 PM

    Salam ‘alaikum,
    Subhan Allah we love Maryam Masjid /Maryam Islamic Center (MIC), in Sugar Land, TX. It is beautiful in every sense of the word. We have a large prayer area for sisters, separate entrance, smiling faces & a Zonal Council / management that is diverse & helpful, over twenty teams (with youth taking center stage & being trained to lead), that cater to many needs of the community, weekly counselling, a vibrant, young local brother as our Imam, plenty of events that cater to both young & old alike. Of course there is always the odd trouble maker but the rest of the community & the volunteers make up for the random unpleasantness. We are not perfect but strive for perfection every single day.
    This is from the Favors of Allah swt upon us & I pray Allah continues HIS favors upon us & upon all the Muslims across the world.

    • Hena Zuberi

      Hena Zuberi

      April 11, 2013 at 2:35 PM

      Wa alaykummasslam,
      Ameen, I loved my former masjid Unity Center too despite any struggles, it was my family’s second home. We were getting there. Baby steps.

      Random unpleasantness is human as long as it is not the culture of organization. MIC sounds like an awesome community.

      I would love to hear more about how this was achieved. What steps did the community take?

      • Avatar

        Ghazala

        April 13, 2013 at 4:19 PM

        Jazakallahu khairan Sis. Hena for giving me the opportunity to present some of the specifics that contribute to the blessed MIC community. One of our very active, young volunteers Br.Waleed Mohiuddin helped me compile this list. We will take you to the vision as an organization and try to link this to our success, Alhamdulillah.

        Exemplary Institution across North America
        Having a vision itself brings us to a key factor – professionalism (and organization). Masaajid need to be given priority just as we do, to our businesses. Tawakkul is vital – aim high (recognize that there is no limit to Allah’s blessings), work hard (passion is key here – do it heartily with Ikhlas ), succeed (be thankful if outcome is positive, thankful and patient otherwise).

        Primary focus on recognizing potential in Youth, retain them as productive Muslims and empower them to become leaders
        This is one fundamental and distinguished element – focusing on Youth as leaders, mentoring them & instilling the required passion. Youth has the energy, exposure and creativity required of an outstanding institution – this coupled with the wisdom of our elders is a much known but apparent recipe for success. Our 23+ teams each with youth leadership is a key element of MIC’s growth, success and ability to retain the community members.
        What the centers also need, is to provide the environment and activities that youth spend most of their time in – sorry to mention the Starbucks and pool halls – but if this is what initially brings the youth in – this is what we give, of course in a Islamically and morally legal way – transformation is the next step which is achieved through presence in the Islamic Center.

        Family Friendly Institution
        This is where the concept of ‘Islamic Centers’ vs. ‘Masaajid’ becomes apparent. The purpose in many peoples mind seems to be that of fulfilling ritual obligations (the Masjid). We have to think beyond – use the ‘Centers’ to bring the community together – people often question the spending on community events, we need to think beyond this – this is truly an investment in the community – to gather people and provide that sense of community and brotherhood – to create memories that often become habits – the youth especially is much more likely to carry the morals and rituals they learn over to the next generation – realizing this and investing in the community is key.

        Promote Creativity, Innovation and Professionalism
        This sort of ties with the vision of an organization – we often tie these elements to engineering and manufacturing firms – it is time we apply them to activities and management of the Islamic Centers. Diversity in all aspects (age, gender, race, etc.) is key in promoting these elements – this is truly where the difference is both in terms of perception and success.

        Set new standards of Outreach
        This is self explanatory – creativity in outreach and leading by example – focus on our behavior that inspires others. One factor that our Daw’ah team demonstrates is the concept of ‘no compulsion’ – we do our due diligence – guidance is from Allah. Talking of events, MIC Daw’ah & Family teams are to organize one event per month besides the ongoing Halaqaat. Again this is done in the most professional way, for example, The Daw’ah team brings in a speaker, seeks approval, then sends in the event planer that outlines the dates & responsibilities of the other teams, Media does designing, printing, distribution of material, announcements FB page, audio/visual set up etc, Parking, Food, Maintenance Teams are all ready, set for the day of the event with a clean Masjid, extra help to constantly clean bathrooms, food provided, tea/coffee service available, so on so forth. It is one smooth operation Alhamdulillah.

        Promote active participation from Members in shaping the community and its future
        This is all about creating a sense of community and the sense of ownership (of the Center) within the community. Idea should be to create the willingness to be (proudly) associated with MIC – through active participation in activities, or as a community member. Seek input from members, show that they matter.
        MIC is passionate about interfaith dialogue, whereby our community is invited to attend these events / luncheons. Our events are as varied as Marriage counselling & events with esteemed scholars to lighter fare with dessert competitions, art competition (coming up) etc, that involve a large segment of our diverse community.

        I hope this outlines some of the things that contribute to an energetic and passionate MIC community – May Allah bless MIC and guide its members. Ameen.
        May Allah bless everyone at MM & all those who work in HIS path. Ameen.

  6. Avatar

    The Eco Muslim

    April 10, 2013 at 9:06 PM

    Brilliant advice. I shall be using these ideas at our eco-mosque here in England.

  7. Avatar

    RCHOUDH

    April 11, 2013 at 7:14 PM

    Mash’allah this is a great article that lays out many of the issues facing American mosques today. Here’s what I think is going on with many mosques today; I think most of them are overwhelmed with the various issues facing Muslims in America (particularly the younger generations and new Muslims). Since most mosques are run by immigrant communities, and only have enough in their budget to simply run a prayer place (and not a community center) they are often times silent and helpless about the various issues you bring up above. I believe the idea of having “safe spaces” is generally a good idea, and one that mosques that can’t provide the services given by “safe spaces”, can benefit from. So rather than having “safe spaces” operate completely independently, I believe mosques should take advantage of their services and make their services aware to to their congregations. Also mosques should sometimes allow the “safe spaces” to use the mosque as a venue towards conducting any special events that could benefit the entire community (such as lectures/workshops on various important topics).
    As for my own experience, I try to encourage family members to attend their neighborhood mosques all the time, even though I understand when they say that their mosques are not well-equipped with everything. I remember one relative saying that her mosque didn’t offer any special events for youth, to which I replied that perhaps she should try volunteering to create and run these events herself (with the mosque board’s permission of course). Sometimes I think it’s important to initiate things ourselves, just to see how far we can go towards improving our mosque’s atmosphere ourselves.

  8. Avatar

    Zahrah

    April 12, 2013 at 8:57 AM

    I have to agree with Adeeqah (above). We expect the mosques to step in and fill in all the blanks of our social lives. This is not what the masjids are for. They are for us to gather and pray, send our children for Qur’an teaching, for funerals, weddings and the like. It’s above and beyond to ask of each masjid to provide unlimited services for youth (basketball games and events) and folks who have social needs. It’s great if a masjid has enough space and funds to provide but not many do. We in America are expecting the mosques to be like churches, with social events all the time. In other countries, the mosques aren’t expected to fill these other community needs, servicing each sector with games for the kids, functions where the women can cook and serve, family games and outings, etc. They go use the mosque to pray, and go home. Their neighbors and friends fill in the social functions. I always thought that was a great thing about a mosque. With the church, you are made to feel like you have to belong as a member of that church. If you leave and go to another church there is gossip and questioning about why you left. Not so with the mosques. They are open and there is no commitment to one or another. If you feel like one of the mosques is your home mosque, great! But no one is going to wonder why you decided to go to a different mosque this week.

    That being said, the new Muslims and the youth that grows up in America have these social needs, and have expectations of the mosques to fulfill them, not realizing this is not the duty of the mosque. Then, because of these feelings they themselves have created, they are left feeling unmosqued. I’m happy to be unmosqued! I can go to whichever one I please! I know folks from different ones and am happy to see them and meet new friends when I visit other mosques.

    However, because of the expectations and feeling that mosques are letting them down by not providing programs they need, we need to make these other services (like Make Space) to help service the needs of the Muslim communities. We all really do need to step in and help provide support and social services to one another (especially with new Muslims, women and youth) outside of the masjid. And mosques need to be connected to these groups and promote Make Space to help fill in the blanks of the needs of our community.

  9. Avatar

    Sandra Amen-Bryan

    April 12, 2013 at 11:52 AM

    Salaam Aliekum,
    Yes, it is a “blessing” that this conversation is taking place in the light of day, in a honest manner, vs the venting process many of us have engaged in when discussing the issues detailed in this article.

    As a female worshipper, I have gone through all of the disgraces of having being eyed by a pack of men at the doors, too tiny of a space for the women, and hostile remarks/behavior that indicate my presence on Friday or another day was not welcome. Rather than shed tears anymore over the hurts I have incurred in masjids, in different states, I actually expect a certain level of rude behavior at any new mosque, I might attend. If i don’t get it, then I am happy. If I do, I chalk it up to their record and not mine. I take the best of what I get and leave the rest.

    I think anyone, man or woman, who attends any masjid regularly, has to develop their own Survival Strategy in order to protect one’s iman, while putting forth a desire to serve, as well as worship.

    And if the above solution is not acceptable, then I think the outcome is as the author documented: there are many other “Spaces” that are being formed to accommodate specific needs of the community(s). People who want to worship do not have to depend on the mosque establishment. They can and are developing ummahs of their own. They are leaving the domes and doing their own thing; and taking their financial resources with them.

    I think this is a positive trend. We don’t have a hierarchy for good reason: it naturally breeds competition for power, control and creates corruption. The development of additional spaces is good competition. For we all should all be competition for ‘good deeds’.

    • Avatar

      Gibran

      April 12, 2013 at 12:30 PM

      Assalamualaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh

      Mashaa Allah sister, you reminded me of those who “turn of evil with good”

      http://quran.com/13/22

  10. Avatar

    GregAbdul

    April 14, 2013 at 12:01 AM

    I think there is a pattern here: it’s the women. The women’s section at my masjid is kind of crazy. My wife hates it and we used to get into heated arguments because she hated going there so much and I would insist she go. The problems are still there. Some scholars say it is our separation that is causing the problems. In the Indo/Pak masjids, they are big on the curtain or a separate room. The severe degree of separation causes the women to be more likely to talk during khutbahs and lectures because they are not directly in earshot of the speaker. So my wife goes to Jummah and struggles to listen to the Imam over a bunch of chatting sisters. It is an old guy’s club. May Allah reward you brothers for bringing this up. It’s a serious issue and you are right, it threatens our future as a Western Ummah. Some of us are obviously having a hard time being inclusive. I am black American, so I always blame prejudice. We come from these pure places where no one was different, and in America, everyone is different. We have to adjust our thinking and prioritize reaching out to those who are different and who we are used to seeing as less. Often, if you get to know that lesser person, you will find that he or SHE has strengths and good qualities that make them your equal or maybe your better!

  11. Avatar

    Tamirah-Amani Euphrates Jehan

    August 7, 2013 at 5:42 PM

    August 6, 2013, I traveled from Columbus, Ohio to Toledo, Ohio on a business assignment and saw the Islamic Center of Greater Toledo. It was an extremely ornate-huge building sitting boldly and magnificently wear everyone driving Interstate 75 can see it. I’ve seen this huge structure years ago but I was not Muslim and had no idea what it was. Now, as a Muslim, I know that it is a masjid and Alhamduallahi, I had the opportunity to go visit. My sister, who is non-Muslim, accompanied me and was very excited to visit this majestic place of worship. So after my business was conducted in Toledo, we drove to Perrysburg, Ohio to visit the masjid. After spending about an hour trying to locate the masjid, Subhanallahi, we found it. It was around 4:30pm and we walked inside. From a distance, to the right of us, we saw a woman sitting at a desk. She was not wearing hijab (as I thought was customary to do when inside a masjid), but I am a newer Muslim convert and do not know all the proper etiquette, sunnah, etc., so I am still learning, as was my reason and excitement for visiting the masjid in the first place.

    At any rate, the phone rang and the woman answered the phone. I didn’t know if we should just start walking around so I waited to ask permission if it was okay first. While the woman was on the phone we saw a few shelved Islamic books and Al Qur’ans and various pieces of literature placed on a table. We heard some one say as-salaamu alaikum, and we turned around (I wasn’t sure if the woman was speaking to us or someone on the phone). We turned towards her and she briefly looked at us then put her head back down. I noticed she was off the phone so I said, wa laiku as-salam. She looked up again (saying nothing). So I said hello, we have traveled from Columbus, Ohio and saw this beautiful masjid and wanted to visit. She said, in an abrupt and rude manner, I will be leaving soon. I said, okay, isn’t the masjid open for Salat-al Dhuhr and Salat-al Asr in about an hour? She said yes but no one will probably come. I wanted to be clear if she meant that the masjid would be closing or if she meant it wasn’t really an “active” mosque so I asked her and she said yes it is an active mosque but that no one is normally present during these prayer times. So I said okay. Is it okay to look around, she said, again, in an abrupt and agitated manner, I guess. I have to say, I was taken-aback by her mannerism and behavior. She was so very impolite. It almost came off as being prejudice or something.

    As a hijab-wearing African-American Muslim, I know what it feels like when someone acts ugly towards a person of a different race, ethnicity, nationality, etc., and unfortunately, I experience these negative behaviors from Muslims (my so-called brothers and sisters in Islam) more than with non-Muslims (Allah (SWT) is my witness). It is extremely discouraging to give salams to a Muslimah and not get any in return. It is extremely disconcerting to see women not want to stand shoulder to shoulder, feet to feet with me during prayer and watch them “scoot” over -although I understand that it’s sunnah to connect the rows, etc. However, I just try to keep it moving and realize that it is “people” not Islam that acts undignified, but I cannot lie, it keeps me away from the masjid. I’ve gone to a few in my hometown but have entered and exited feeling like some type of “out-cast” or something. I also sense that the people are saying with their eyes, what are you doing here? This is our mosque. Like being a Black American is some type of disease. It is horrible because if you ever experienced this you know what I’m talking about and I know it is not a figment of my imagination or some type of insecurity issue I have.

    Back to the masjid in Perrysburg, Ohio. Like I said, I was taken aback by the reception we received (or really didn’t receive) from the woman. I don’t know if she was a Muslim or not and although I have met with cold receptions before from Muslims I still try not to let it discourage me from having a positive outlook and not to categorize all Muslims as being rude, impolite, racist, prejudice, or ignorant. So, again, I was just shocked by the cold treatment we received. We traveled about 2.5 hours away and took an additional hour trying to get to the masjid and only to be met by a cold/rude acting person who was, by all intensive-purposes, the representative of that masjid (just like if a person would call their local utility company, as a customer, you would expect to be treated with respect and dignity and if you are met with a rude customer service representative, your experience will impact your view/perception of the company (although it was the rep who was rude)). It’s just how it is. We reflect that which we say we represent (expressed or implied).

    I felt so disappointed and embarrassed by the woman’s behavior. I did not want my sister (non-Muslim) to have experienced this. What if I was bring someone there to take the Shahada? What if I was returning to the faith and wanted to make an appointment to meet with the Imam? What about the fact that I was a traveler (wayfayer) wanting to make my prayers? It was just a horrible experience, such so, that me and my sister said thank you and walked out the door. The spirit and attitude in that place was so negative, cold and unwelcoming, I would rather not waste my time there.

    Later that day, when I returned home, I looked at the Islamic Center of Greater Toledo’s website again (like I did the day before I traveled there), to see if I missed anything. Was this a true Islamic place of worship? It said “Greater Toledo” as if it was the masjid serving all of the city and surrounding area. So why in the world would it have a woman in the office who is so rude?
    Then I Googled the masjid’s name and saw that it had met with disaster. From what I understand, about a year a go, a man entered the masjid with a gun with the intentions on shooting Muslims and when he found no one, he set fire to the prayer rug causing over 1.4 million dollars in damage. What a horrible thing! The man was charged for a hate crime, arson, and various other charged and sentenced. Me and my sister discussed how tragic this was and how we were glad that no one got hurt or died (Subhanallahi!).

    The fire set by that man caused a lot of physical damage.

    Then my sister made a statement that will stick with me forever.

    She said, that woman’s actions (and if she behaves that way on an ongoing basis) will cause more damage than that fire could ever cause.

    Respectfully submitted by

    Tamirah-Amani Euphrates Jehan
    Columbus, OH, USA

  12. Avatar

    Jennifer aboufadle

    June 1, 2014 at 3:24 PM

    I think it is important to bring our Mosqes back to being the center of our communities. I think I have a good idea for how to help make this happen. I think first and foremost there has to be a huge community of woman at the Masjids all the time(fajr to Isha) especially those who speak the language of the area and have knowledge of Quran, we need to give other Muslim women somewhere to come for new converts and women in need of community support(with loss, tragedy, and other stressors). Also, I think the best thing is to offer free high school education at the Masjid to highschool girls(only). We need to cement their faith and islamic education before they become wives and mothers. Fathers should love this because it will bring them to the Mosque and away from boys. The priority in making this free will be to have the mothers involved with the classes. In Florida we have free homeschooling online program called flvs, witch offers local teachers you can call for support. Also, with this I think it would be simple to add daycare the student could help the younger kids and that will also help them with basic parenting skills and teaching the girls to help the kids will hopefully show them the joys and troubles of motherhood that will help them appreciate their parents inshallah. I think with minimal start up money and space and a few mothers this could transform the Islamic communities for eons to come. Allah knows best.

  13. Pingback: Unmosqued Series: Role of the Masaajid - East vs. West | MuslimMatters.org

  14. Pingback: Reviving the Role of the Masjid | Part 1 - MuslimMatters.org

Leave a Reply

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

Coronavirus

Alternative Eid Celebrations In The Midst Of A Pandemic

“Eid-al-Quarantine” is what my sister has so fondly dubbed our upcoming Eid al Fitr this year. I find myself asking, “How are we going to make Eid a fun and special celebration this year in the midst of a dangerous pandemic?” With a little bit of creativity and resourcefulness, this Eid can be fun–no matter the current circumstances. This post will provide you with some inspiration to get your alternative Eid preparations underway! 

Special note: Shelter-in-place restrictions are lessening in many places in the United States, but this does not give us the green light to go back to life as normal and celebrate Eid in the ways we usually would have in the past. I am no health expert, but my sincerest wish for all Muslims throughout the world is that we all err on the side of caution and maintain rigorous precautions.

In-person gatherings are going to be much riskier in light of public health safety concerns. I do not recommend that people get together this Eid. Keep in mind, as well, that this is a big weekend for all Americans, as it is Memorial Day Weekend and crowds may be expected in places like parks and beaches. 

Support MuslimMatters for Just $2 a Month

MuslimMatters has been a free service to the community since 2007. 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.

Eid Day Must’s

Just because you are staying in, doesn’t mean that all of the Eid traditions have to go. Some may be exactly the same, some may be slightly adjusted this year. 

  • Get dressed up, even if it’s just for an hour or two. This might be a good chance to do hair and make up for sisters who normally don’t on Eid because of hijab or other modesty concerns. 
  • Take your family pictures, as usual. 
  • Decorate your house, even if it’s just with some fresh flowers in a vase or hanging up some string lights. (This time, I think sharing pictures of your setup may  have some more wiggle room.)
  • Find a way to pray Eid salah at home, if your local imam mentions a way to adapt for the current situation or check out this MM article
  • Eat some good food, and make sure to feast. 
  • Take that infamous Eid nap. 
  • Greet loved ones (phone calls, video calls, text messages, voice/video messages, make and send Eid cards).
  • Give and receive gifts. (Electronic ways to transfer money/checks in the mail, dropping off gifts to homes/sending gifts in the mail/having an online order pick-up in-store. You may also choose to do a gift exchange, if not this weekend, next). 

Ads by Muslim Ad Network

Virtual Parties

Virtual celebrations are a great, safe, option. The best thing about virtual hangouts is that people from all over the world can “come together” to celebrate Eid. This can be as simple as talking and catching up, or can be as orchestrated as a full-out party including games. Keep in mind, the games and virtual parties aren’t only for the kids–everyone should have fun this Eid! We recently threw a virtual birthday party for our one-year-old and it was quite the experience. 

  • Split guests into different calls (kids’ call, adults’ call; men’s call, women’s call)
  • Party agenda for a rigorously planned party so everyone knows what to expect
  • Party games, either with certain items that everyone has (or can easily and quickly purchase) or games that do not require much else besides an internet connection 
    • Games requiring physical items (think of items that everyone is likely to have and think of carnival-type games):
      • Soccer ball juggling or basketball shooting competition
      • Water balloon toss
      • Timed races (three-legged, holding an egg in a spoon, etc.)
    • Games with little to no special equipment
      • Online Pictionary https://skribbl.io/
      • Online Scrabble
      • Video games
      • Charades
      • Taboo (we do this for our cousin game nights with pictures of cards that one person sends to people from the opposite team)
      • Scattergories
      • Bingo
      • Mad libs
      • Speaking games that take turns going around a circle (going through the alphabet saying names of animals or colors or foods, rhyming words [we played the last two lines of “Down by the Bay” for our son’s birthday party])
      • Movement game (Simon says, dancing if you’re into that [“Cha Cha Slide,” dance-off, passing along dance moves as was a TikTok trend I heard of, simply dancing…])
      • Games like in Whose Line is it Anyway? or like the “Olympics” (specifically the “middle games”) that I wrote about way back
  • Performances
    • Skits prepared by one family or even across households
    • Reciting a poem or surah or singing
    • Other showcases of talent, by individuals or not
  • Gift Exchanges (I’ve been doing this virtually since 2013 with friends/distant family members.)

Alternative Virtual/Group Celebrations

Being “together” isn’t always gathering for a party, and that’s what I think most people miss during the forced isolation caused by the pandemic. There are many things you can do to get ready for or celebrate Eid with loved ones even if you’re not together. 

  • Share special recipes with each other or plan to serve the same meals.
  • Coordinate Eid outfits or attempt to do matching henna designs.
  • Send Eid pictures to family and friends.
  • Prepare and cook meals or clean or decorate while on a video call (you don’t have to be talking the entire time).
  • Watch the same movie or show (whether that’s something everyone does as separate households or you do concurrently/even with a video or phone call running. This might be a good time to watch Hasan Minhaj’s “Homecoming King” and do the 10 things it invites us to do.)
  • Go through family pictures or old videos together. Maybe even create a short slideshow/video of your favorites. 
  • Story time full of family legends and epic moments (the best Eid, a difficult time of sickness, immigration or moving story, new baby in the family, etc.). Someone build the fire and get the s’mores going.

Alternative “Outings”

In the same breath, it’s so refreshing to go out and do something fun, not just stay cooped up in your house, right? Seriously. 

  • Check out a virtual museum tour
  • Go on a nice drive to some place you love or miss going to, like drive by the masjid or school or a beautiful area (but stay in your car if there are other people around)
  • Watch an Eid Khutbah (or a regular one) on Eid day (make it special by listening outside in your yard or as a family where you pray).
  • Create a movie theater experience inside the home (that might just mean some popcorn and homemade slushies).
  • Get carry out from a favorite restaurant (if it’s open), and finally have the motivation to take a longer drive if needed
  • Make fruit or gift baskets for friends and family and drop them off at their homes
  • A “paint night,” or some other craft, that everyone in the family participates in
  • Decorate your car and drive around to show it off to friends (I’ve heard there’s an actual Eid car parade at various masaajid in Chicago

Interesting Alternative Community Celebrations I’ve Heard About

Some communities are getting super creative. As I mentioned above, a handful of masaajid in Chicago (Orland Park Prayer Center, Mosque Foundation, and Islamic Center of Wheaton as well as Dar Al Taqwa in Maryland) are putting together Eid drive-thru car parades. I’ve heard of different communities, whether officially sponsored by the masjid or just put together by groups of individuals, having a drive-in Eid salah, in which families pray in their cars in a rented drive-in theater or parking lot (Champaign, Illinois and a community in Maryland). I’m  definitely impressed with that last option, and I’m waiting to hear about more creative ways to get together and worship and celebrate.

So, what am I doing for Eid (weekend) this year? All the must’s, inshaAllah, including getting extra dolled up and making donuts from biscuit dough. A “game night” (virtual party) with alumni from my MSA. A gift exchange party with my cousins as well as another gift exchange party with classmates from my Arabic program (we’ll send unboxing videos out instead of meeting at the same time.) Check out a local college campus we’ve been dying to drive around. Binge a few episodes of Avatar: The Last Airbender newly released on Netflix and do some online Memorial Day sale shopping. Le’s put a tentative on all of those, haha.

At the end of the day, Eid al Fitr is about acknowledging the month of worship we engaged in during Ramadan and spending quality time with loved ones. It doesn’t really matter what that quality time looks like–as long as it is intentional, this Eid will be special no matter what, inshaAllah. Who knows, this might be one of the best, most memorable holidays ever!

Eid Mubarak!

Support Our Dawah for Just $2 a Month

MuslimMatters has been a free service to the community since 2007. 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.

Continue Reading

#Society

COVID-19: A Muslim Perspective on Incarceration and Emancipation During A Public Health Crisis

prison

The COVID-19 pandemic of 2020 has brought new challenges to society that demand solutions.  One such dilemma that has emerged is the spread of the novel coronavirus amongst prison populations and staff.

In Maryland, for example, there are over 200 coronavirus cases reported in the Maryland Prison system.  In New York, according to the Wall Street Journal, more than 800 city correction employees have tested positive for Covid-19, and eight have died.  Also, 1,200 inmates have tested positive and there have been at least 10 deaths from COVID-19.

Alarming reports such as these across the nation have sparked a response by the government to reduce the spread of the coronavirus in the prison population and among correctional employees.

Support MuslimMatters for Just $2 a Month

MuslimMatters has been a free service to the community since 2007. 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.

In Washington, for example, the governor has commuted approximately 300 sentences, and over 40 prisoners have received work release furloughs.  Around the country, many low-level and non-violent offenders have been released.

According to the Prison Policy Initiative, around 300 prisoners have been released in Orange County, Florida. Over 100 inmates have been released from prisons in Nevada and Alabama; 531 people have been released in Philadelphia, PA, and 1,000 prisoners are slated to be released from New Jersey prisons. Similar efforts underway in most states across the country.

In Maryland, Baltimore City State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby has been at the forefront of the effort to reduce the prison population at-risk for coronavirus, and on Sunday, April 19th, 2020, Governor Larry Hogan signed an executive order granting early release to hundreds of inmates to reduce the spread of the disease.

Ads by Muslim Ad Network

The ripple effect of such efforts are having an impact globally. According to reports, Poland has announced plans to release up to 12,000 convicts, and Iran has already released close to 80,000 prisoners.

UN experts have urged action, including Michelle Bachelet, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, who stated,

“In many countries, detention facilities are overcrowded, in some cases dangerously so.  The consequences of neglecting them are potentially catastrophic.”

What should inform the Muslim community’s position?

This Ramadan, as we seek to uphold these principles in our daily activities, Muslims cannot neglect prisoners’ rights.Click To Tweet

Following in the example of the Prophet Muhammad ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him), the noble qualities of justice, mercy and compassion must be factored into the equation.

He said: “The merciful will be shown mercy by the Most Merciful. Be merciful to those on the earth and the One in the heavens will have mercy upon you.” (Tirmidhi 1924).

According to a different hadith, or recorded narration of Prophetic sayings, he said: “Allah does not show mercy to those who do not show mercy to people.” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)

As Imam Omar Suleiman, founder of Yaqeen Institute, stated in part on the Poor People’s Campaign Appeal on Twitter on April 20, 2020:

“Ramadan is a time of fasting and sacrifice to clarify what is necessary and just. It is right and just that protections are enacted for people in mental health facilities, prisons and juvenile detention centers, especially supplies, personnel, testing and treatment. This includes the release of all at risk populations and non-violent offenders and detainees. There are 2.3 million incarcerated people and over 52,000 people in detention centers.”

Conditions in most prisons today clearly create an unsafe environment with regards to the elevated risk of infection with the novel coronavirus.  Releasing low-level, non-violent offenders who are most at risk is an act of Prophetic mercy.

As stated in the Holy Quran: if anyone saves one life, it’s as if they had saved all of mankind. (Surah Ma’idah 5:32).  Saving one non-violent offender from the contagion of Covid-19 in prison may not seem significant in the grand scheme of things, but that act of mercy and compassion reverberates and impacts on greater society.   

In Islamic law, or shariah, maqasid (aims or purposes) and maslaha (welfare or public interest) are two doctrines that inform rulings by jurists.

Maslahah “consist of the five essential values (al-daruriyyat al-khamsah) namely religion, life, intellect, lineage and property.  In this case, it serves the public interest to attempt to reduce the spread of novel coronavirus, thereby furthering preservation of life.

Our country’s broken criminal justice system is in desperate need of restorative measures. Prison is not a place where a civilized society can stow away prisoners, discard the key, and forget about them. Click To Tweet

Prisoners are entitled to basic human rights. To this effect, it is documented that as Caliph, the beloved cousin of the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him), Ali ibn Abi Talib raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him), used to inspect the prisons, meet the prisoners in them and inquire about their circumstances.

The urgency of the principles of mercy and preservation of life need to be a priority for those entrusted with the authority to make a difference in the lives of the many low-level, non-violent offenders that find themselves caught in the sinuous vice grip of the penal system.

This Ramadan, as we seek to uphold these principles in our daily activities, Muslims cannot neglect prisoners’ rights.

We must make a difference where we can.

Support Our Dawah for Just $2 a Month

MuslimMatters has been a free service to the community since 2007. 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.

Continue Reading

#Islam

Cultivating Spirituality in a COVID-19 Ramadan

“One of the seven given shade on the Day of Judgment is the man who remembered Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) in private and so his eyes shed tears” [Sahih Bukhari]

Ramadan has arrived, and this year, along with a lot of uncertainty for many of us. The Family & Youth Institute (FYI) conducted a survey to better understand the spiritual and community needs of Muslim Americans during this Ramadan. Based on these findings, the primary concerns of American Muslims were found to center around the spiritual growth and connection we associate so much with the community/masjid.

Many of us will miss the social gatherings at iftar time. Men and women who regularly pray at the masjid in congregation will now pray in their homes, alone, or with their families. Youth who find their spiritual high at youth iftars and qiyams with their mentors must find another way to meet this need. Revert Muslims who may not have Muslim families to celebrate with, and as a result rely on the greater Muslim community to experience Ramadan, will need another way to fulfill the feeling of togetherness and seeking knowledge.

We need to recognize that we can take steps to reduce our anxiety and take control of this new Ramadan so that we can enjoy and benefit from it! The tips we’ve outlined below can be found in much greater detail in The Family and Youth Institute’s (The FYI) Covid-19 Ramadan Toolkit!

Support MuslimMatters for Just $2 a Month

MuslimMatters has been a free service to the community since 2007. 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.

The central place of spiritual connection and growth has shifted from the masjid back to the home. So how can we motivate ourselves to feel the spiritual high of Ramadan from our homes? Here are some ways to make the best of our Ramadan that we can benefit from:

 

Know that the masjid misses us as much as we miss it.

Ads by Muslim Ad Network

It is missing Quranic recitation, people giving sadaqah, the barakah of people worshipping Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He), and more. For more on this topic, check out this webinar by The FYI’s Community Educator, Duaa Haggag, about how to keep the masjid alive in our hearts during this month.

Bring the Ramadan feel to your home. 

Now, more than ever, is a time to create a Ramadan home environment that appeals to all of our senses. Many of us do this already if we have children, but now is the time to also do this for ourselves, as adults. This can be done by putting up Islamic visuals (books, decorations), light traditional fragrances you associate with Ramadan, playing your favorite nasheeds, eating traditional foods for Iftar, and so on. These smells, sounds, tastes, and sights will reactivate the feeling you associate with Ramadan, even when you can’t be connected with your community.

Create a spiritual or masjid atmosphere within your home by trying some of the following: 

  • Make a space in your home for yourself where you will pray, read Quran, make du’a, and/or reflect. Have a Quran, dhikr beads, du’a journal/book, and prayer rug easily available for use. Take pictures of your spaces and share them with your friends to encourage each other
  • Mimic the masjid feel by ensuring that the adhan can be heard aloud in the house at all five times of the day
  • If you typically go to the masjid to pray the obligatory prayers, continue to pray at the time of congregation according to your local masjid’s congregation schedule. Lead your family in prayer at these specific times. This encourages you and your family to pray on time while feeling connected to your masjid. If you long to hear the Quran being recited, set that up in your space
  • If you have children, family togetherness will be even more important during this time. Check out the Family Bonding section of The FYI’s Covid-19 Ramadan Toolkit for many more practical tips and strategies

Create a special routine for Jumu’ah within the home.

Take the time to research the sunnah practices of Rasulullah ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) and find creative ways to do them. Here are some other things to try:

  • Use this as an opportunity to learn the etiquettes of and practice giving khutbahs
  • Have a post-Jumu’ah halaqa or listen to one of the many online lectures being shared to maintain the connection
  • While you may not be able to physically go to the masjid for Jumu’ah, you CAN complete the other sunnahs that the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) practiced
  • After Jumu’ah is a time when many of us would meet up and catch up with our family and friends. Host a post-Jumu’ah virtual session and share with your family and friends so you can still catch up and meet with them after Jumu’ah
  • Remind yourselves of the blessings and rewards Jumu’ah brings, even if it can’t be done as a community

Revive the Sunnah of praying Taraweeh in the home.

Learn about how praying taraweeh at home was how our beloved Rasulullah ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) and Sahabis prayed it. Remind yourself that Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) is still waiting to reward you and listen to your supplications; that hasn’t changed. Set up virtual connections with friends or family during taraweeh time. You may not be able to pray together but this will help you connect to the same feeling you had in past Ramadans. Re-frame how we feel about a taraweeh at home. Consider our situation as an invitation to spend alone time (khalwa) with Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He).

Structure your Day

Now that we are in quarantine, it’s the perfect opportunity to slow down and focus on making the best of the month of Ramadan. Making a schedule allows you to keep a consistent routine while ensuring that your spiritual, physical, mental, emotional, and social needs are all being met each day. There will be days when it is hard to follow the schedule, so be gentle with yourself and allow those days to happen.

  • Start your day with a morning virtual group that recites morning du’a and surahs
  • Designate times to recite your favorite dhikr, du’a, and recitation of the Quran
  • Start a gratitude journal writing at least 3 things you are grateful for each day.  Then when supplicating to Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He), thank Him for these blessings
  • Plan to listen to a weekly lecture/talk that is live, either with organizations or with your local mosque. Set it up on your TV for the whole family to watch together
  • Celebrate iftar preparation; make it a family affair! Challenge the children to set the table based on different themes and take pictures of it
  • Pick the days you will call a family member, neighbor, or elderly person during the week.
  • Make sure to set time for physical activity: Take a walk outside with the family or let your kids pick a sport to play with you after work hours are over
  • If you have children, refer to the Family Bonding section of The FYI’s Covid-19 Ramadan Toolkit to create a schedule with them

Minimize technology

Disengage with technology in order to engage with Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He).

  • Be intentional with how you are using technology and how much you are using it; use it to connect with others, not just to scroll through feeds
  • Set and enforce a Ramadan Family Media contract
  • Monitoring how much we use technology is just as important as monitoring our children’s usage. Refer to The FYI’s Digital Parenting Toolkit for much more resources on properly engaging with media

Quran

We know the month of Ramadan is the month of Quran; though how can we live this during the times we are facing now? Prophethood began when the first revelation came to our beloved Messenger ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) when he was in a state of khalwa, or isolation. While we will miss listening to the Quran being recited by the qari every night in taraweeh, we can still keep the Quran wet on our tongues and ears. Try these strategies:

  • Make time for reading and reflecting on the meaning of the Quran– set SMART goals
  • If you have young children and find it challenging to find the time to sit and read the Quran, consider playing it while preparing iftar or taking care of the kids
  • Have a Quran competition within your family or with friends to see who can read the most pages by the end of the month
  • Engage children with the Quran by teaching them stories of the Prophets, reading Surat ul-Qadr, or Al-Alaq
  • Join or start a Quran recitation group where the Quran is being recited
  • Gather some friends that keep you accountable for your Quran goal.  Do a daily check in on a group text when you meet your goal

Du’a

During this unpredictable time, the power of du’a can bring hope by supplicating to our Creator.  It is also a chance for healing and developing good habits. This Ramadan, be intentional about the du’a you choose to recite considering your current circumstances.

  • Make a du’a journal with a list of important du’as to recite during Ramadan. Choose from the common du’as recited by the previous prophets, including Prophet Muhammed ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him), and your personalized du’a
  • Choose specific times of the day that you will read these du’a such as during tahajjud, right before iftar, or after a salah
  • Involve your children by asking them to make a list of the important people in their lives they want to pray for and share the list with each other. This not only encourages you to be reflective of your physical and emotional needs, but also reminds us of the One who can meet those needs.
  • Start a text group where each person types in one du’a per day on the group and everyone makes the same du’a for each other

It is an understatement that this Ramadan will be an entirely new experience for the Ummah.  While we will miss the spiritual traditions we enjoy every Ramadan, this year is an opportunity to cultivate new traditions.  The opportunities to catch the blessings of Ramadan are not lost; it just looks different this year. Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) is so Merciful that he will accept our worship for Him wherever we are.  Ask yourself what spiritual acts draw you closer to Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He), and structure it in your day whether you are working inside or outside of the home.

For much more information on other ways to take advantage of a Covid-19 Ramadan, be sure to explore The FYI’s COVID-19 Ramadan Toolkit

Support Our Dawah for Just $2 a Month

MuslimMatters has been a free service to the community since 2007. 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.

Continue Reading
.
.
.
.

MuslimMatters NewsLetter in Your Inbox

Sign up below to get started

.
Ads by Muslim Ad Network
.
.
Ads by Muslim Ad Network
.

Trending