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Three Good Reasons You Shouldn’t Give Me Money

Zeba Khan



Which deeds are most beloved to Allah?

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

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

I’ve got three really good reasons why you shouldn’t give me any money, and one really bad one.  But first, some background information.

I’ve been leading a double life, and I have two entirely separate internet personas.  One is the Abez you see here- I’m a writer, blogger, and mother of a seven year old on the autism spectrum.  I also have a five year old who wears lipstick and a two and a half year old who draws on walls with it, and I’ve been blogging at for over ten years.

My second persona is also of a special needs mother, but it also involves the founding and directorship of a not for profit autism intervention service, three years of parent counseling and training, and hundreds of hours of local advocacy to raise awareness about autism among teachers, doctors, and random people in elevators here in Dubai.  By day, I’m Peter Parker.  By night, I’m the Managing Director of AutismUAE.

I wear this under my abaya on casual Thursdays.

I wear this under my abaya on casual Thursdays.

I have tried my hardest to not let my two identities overlap, not only because it can make parent meetings a little awkward, but because hiring, firing, and invoicing take a certain strategic aloofness.  It’s hard to walk in to work and be all “I’m the boss, applesauce” if the people you’re trying to boss have been reading your blog.  Read far back enough and it’s obvious that I have a carefully architected façade of directorial dictatorship that’s meant to keep the ship running by day so that the captain can go and hyperventilate in a closet later at night when none of the crew is looking.

And that brings me to the first good reason why you shouldn’t give me your money: It’s a façade.

Not the organization- Oh no, AutismUAE is not a front or a façade for anything.  When I hire ABA therapists, I fly to the Philippines myself to hand-pick senior staff from other intervention centers.  My specialists are definitely for real.  I employ a team of eight swiss-army knives.  They are ABA therapists with a variety of backgrounds- child psychology, special education, occupational therapy, and good old fashioned education and nursing thrown in for good measure.  The supervising therapist has been working with special needs kids for over 17 years and was once privately employed by a royal family in the GCC.

The letters from grateful mothers and excited teachers of the children are also completely genuine.  They’re printed straight from gmail to our collection of frames in our two-room office, and they are brief, humbling, and exhilarating reminders of how a child who can’t speak can turn the words and thoughts of an entire community to their support.

So what’s the façade again?

Oh right- me.  I’m not an ABA therapist or a Board Certified Behavioral Analyst.  When new parents call me- desperation quivering in their voices- they often address me as Dr., as if the obvious qualification required for someone running AutismUAE is nothing less than a PhD.  I find it uncomfortable and awkward, but I have to explain to them that not only am I not a doctor, but I am also not a Special Educator, Behavioral Analyst, or ABA therapist.  I’m not a specialist, I just hire them.

I’m also not a business person.  Sometimes the irony amuses me- I founded a service with a clinical staff of ten and admin staff of three, I pay salaries, generate invoices, and make change for a hundred- but money terrifies me.  It stresses me out.   And that’s my second good reason.  I’m scared of money.

In an ideal world, I could counsel new parents, lecture at schools, and do parent trainings for AutismUAE and I would love my job– as long as I didn’t have to worry about money- whether it was coming, going, or dancing the yolla- I wouldn’t have to care.

But in the real world, underprivileged clients remain under-served clients because it takes money to pay staff salaries.  We did try though, and I would like to say that it was a humanitarian win even if it was a financial loss, because the brother had three sons, and all three of them had autism.

He had- or has, rather-  a lovely wife who cannot leave the house because she works full time caring for their sons, who are 8, 8 and 11.  He has a young, neurotypical daughter who does double duty- as a student as well as a caregiver for her severely autistic brothers once she gets back from school.  His three handsome young boys are nonverbal, not toilet trained, had never been able to afford intensive intervention and could not be admitted to even a special needs school given their level of function.  The house smelled of urine and desperation.  The mother looked as broken as the furniture.

So we did what any naïve, idealistic, bleeding-heart administration with no grasp of financial reality did- we hired a team and sent both members to the house four hours per day, five days per week.  We paid out of personal funds and company savings hoping that we would be able to find a sponsor to cover the costs later.  We collected roughly a third of what was needed.  We applied for corporate social responsibility funding with the help of some very caring people in the banking community, but at the end of the day we were turned down for one really critical reason:

We are not a registered charity.

That’s a good reason not to give us money, and it’s been our ball and chain since founding day one.  In order to become a registered charity in the UAE, you need a physical office located within Dubai (expensive), a full-time accountant on the business license’s visa (expensive, my anxiety and I keep the books for free!), and a board of seven UAE nationals to apply.  I’m not a UAE national, so I couldn’t even be on the board of my own organization, much less fundraise.  So that didn’t get very far.

But you know, I feel less guilty about that now that I did previously because I met a founder of a huge UK-based charity.

He has a daughter with cerebral palsy and a refreshingly non-cynical approach to charity work and finances.  And also, he has a saying.  When I told him- very self-consciously- that we were not a registered charity in the UAE, he knowingly smiled and said, “Ask for forgiveness, not permission.”

Two little boys on the autism spectrum enjoy free play in a supervised AutismUAE event.

Two little boys on the autism spectrum enjoy free play in a supervised AutismUAE event.

After six months of therapy, both of the younger boys said that first words within a few days of each other. And after eight months of therapy we ran out of money and the team had to be diverted to a paying client in order to continue to pay their salaries.  And now we’re back at square one.  The boys still aren’t accepted into any school or therapy programs.  And we aren’t able to help them if we can’t pay the team we assign them.

I find money both beautiful and terrifying. Beautiful because it can be the enabler of so much good- a life-saving surgery for someone with no hope left, education for a child who can lift their entire family out of fear and poverty, dignity for the elderly, and the erasure of sins for those of us who live in comfortable forgetfulness of accountability.

Terrifying because the lack of it means cold, hard, doors slammed in desperate faces.  The real world doesn’t care if I have amazing stories about what our children have accomplished, how many of them are now in mainstream schools, how many teary-mothers have cried on my shoulder, or how many thank you letters are framed on my office wall.  The real world wants me to pay my licensing fees by the end of this December, or the real world will close my business down, and the real world doesn’t care if the mom who owed me over $3,000 in back fees changed her phone number and wouldn’t respond to my emails.

(“Listen, we’re both special needs mothers, you have to trust me, I’ll pay!” Thanks D. Thanks a lot.)

It doesn’t care about bounced checks and senior officials with children on the spectrum who cannot be intimidated into paying their bills.  It doesn’t care that taking people to court costs more than the money they owe- or that a personal dispute between two of my staff caused four to resign and me to lose all the money invested in their training, visas, and tickets into the country- as well as tickets back out again.

Drop by drop a river has formed, carrying away tens of thousands of dollars

-through unplanned emergencies, non-payments, unexpected bills, and the innocent idealism of a director who hates money but somehow hopes it will magically appear so she can continue to ignore it.

But I think I’ve given you enough good reasons for you to not give me money.  Now here’s my really bad one:

I’m trying to retire.  I know- great timing, right? I’ve been chronically ill for years, and I’m trying to transition the organization that I’ve built piece by piece, with my bare, untrained and un-salaried hands- into the hands of a larger, more competent, and more financially sound charity.

My staff, my children, and my legacy will be moved on the better, bigger things, InshaAllah- but before that can happen, I still have to pay my own bills as well as the loans taken to pay for our adventures in humanitarian cash-splashing.

I’m not selling the AutismUAE out for a profit, because it isn’t a profit-making entity.  I’m transferring the organization into bigger, stronger hands.  But I cannot transfer my debts, and if I cannot settle them soon, there will not be an organization to transfer.

So to make a long story short, I’m not a specialist, business person, or anything near a good accountant.  But I have been blessed- by the Grace, Kindness, and Bounty of Allah, to have had over three years as the director of an organization whose work I am proud of, and whose staff I am honored to employ. I have a month to renew my license but none of the funds to do so.  I have a larger charity willing to take me on, but I need to settle AutismUAE’s debts before relinquishing my place at its head.

A mother helps her son complete an activity at a recent AutismUAE family picnic.

A mother helps her son complete an activity at a recent AutismUAE family picnic.

If I had more time, I could come up with a few more really good reasons why you shouldn’t give me any money, but the good news is that I don’t need to.  I don’t need your money- but AutismUAE does.  Early intervention for autism changes the lives of families and children, and gives them the chance of leading a normal life instead of a life-sentence of dependence.   In the past three years we’ve helped over 60 children, most of whom move on to mainstream schools, none of whom would have been able to afford intensive intervention at other, for-profit centers.

I’m retiring, and my son’s early intervention days have passed, Alhamdulillah.  As a young mother I cried myself to sleep wondering if my son would ever talk, but as an autism veteran I know we’re making slow but steady progress towards functionality.  Khalid and I, we’re doing ok, but every few minutes, another child is diagnosed with autism, and until a cure is found, 1 out of every 88 children worldwide is severely impaired in the ability to live a normal life.

Please, please, help.


Editor’s Note: Muslimmatters endorses this fundraiser. The MM Family prays that Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) uses all of us to ease our dear sister’s burden and continue her legacy. Please help with any amount that you can afford- the goal is $10,000. May Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) accept it from you. Please click on the link which will direct you to the AutismUAE gofundme campaign.-HZ


Zeba Khan is the Director of Development for, as well as a writer, speaker, and disability awareness advocate. In addition to having a child with autism, she herself lives with Ehlers-Danlos Sydrome, Dysautonomia, Mast-Cell Activation Disorder, and a random assortment of acronyms that collectively translate to chronic illness and progressive disability.



  1. Avatar


    December 9, 2013 at 1:09 AM

    Wallahi, your articles have had a great impact on me in my personal life. I never comment on these things, but I just wanted to say thank you.

    May Allah reward you, your family, and AutismUAE. Ameen.

  2. Avatar

    Bint Amjad

    December 9, 2013 at 4:27 AM

    Wallahi sis, I love you for the sake of Allah. Your blogs and posts are either making me laugh or cry – darn it what are these emotional extremes!
    May AutismUAE survive. You, your family and the organization are in my du’as.
    May Allah put barakah in all the efforts of those who help autistic children. Ameen

  3. Avatar


    December 9, 2013 at 12:12 PM

    How and where do we contribute?

  4. Avatar

    Mansoor Ansari

    December 9, 2013 at 12:27 PM

    Very touching and moving article. May Allah reward you immensely for the all the good work. May Allah give you, your team and the parents the strength to carry out this challenging work.

  5. Avatar


    December 19, 2013 at 6:48 PM

    Unlike others I’m not convinced. Too many sob stories are draining Muslims of their energies. You canno register the charity in UAE due to high cots yet you chose to use UAE in branding. Somehow th ethics and principles are wrong. If a non-muslim charity had done this we’ll probably be screaming look at the dishonesty!

    We owe it to our current and future generations responsibility of making a difference with clear and sound honest principles. Not half baked response as quoted above from rep of a leading UK charity “Ask for forgiveness, not permission.” So in other words it’s ok to break the laws of a land! Please stand up and say wrong is wrong. We seem to have lost basic principles and prepared to sacrifice them – for what?

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#Current Affairs

A Closer Look At The Congressional Hearing on Human Rights in South Asia

Hena Zuberi



Kashmir hearing in Congress
Which deeds are most beloved to Allah?

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

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

Expectations on Capitol Hill were pretty low going into the House Subcommittee on Asia, the Pacific and Nonproliferation’s historic hearing on “Human Rights in South Asia”. Previously, hearings on India have not been critical and the Kashmiri Muslim point of view has not been discussed.

Chairman of the sub-committee Brad Sherman (D-CA) wasted no time setting the stage for where he wanted to go with this hearing, stating, ”the entire world is focused today on what is happening in Kashmir.” He also pointed to the state of the 2 million-minority population in Assam. Missing from his opening statements were remarks on the state of the rest of the minorities in India, esp. Christians, Sikhs, Dalits, and Muslims. Ranking member Ted Yoho (R-FL) was soft on the gross realities of the occupation, highlighting one case of a Kashmiri constituent, and referred to the abrogation of Article 370 as an internal matter of India. He also brought up the Indian talking point of economic progress in the region but this concept was thoroughly dismissed by later testimony and Q&A.

The State department veteran Alice Wells, Acting Secretary on South and Central Asian Affairs seemed woefully ill-prepared for the critical nature of the hearing. Both Wells and Assistant Secretary for Human Rights Destro could not or did not present solid facts and figures about detention and tried to explain away the oppression as “inconveniences”. They were unable to comment or provide clarity on the situation on the ground in Kashmir, with Destro saying, “we are in the same information blackout as you are.” Some of Sec. Wells’s comments were of direct Indian government persuasion.

Several of Justice For All’s talking points were raised during the hearing.

There was commentary on the National Register of Citizens (NRC) in Assam. Congresswoman Ilhan Omar asked about the anti-Muslim program. She questioned the panel on the public statements by Indian officials that only Muslims have to prove their birth records. Rejecting the notion that a democratic ally cannot be policed, she said that the United States does that in many situations and “this should not be an exception.”The human rights abuse doesn’t cease to exist even if it is the law. Is it consistent with international human rights?” asked Chairman Sherman, along the same lines.

Destro observed that the appeals process “may disadvantage poor and illiterate populations who lack documentation”. “We are closely following this situation and urge the Government of India to take these issues into consideration,” he added.

”The human rights abuse doesn’t cease to exist even if it is the law. Is it consistent with international human rights?” asked Chairman ShermanClick To Tweet

Wells testified that “violence and discrimination against minorities in India, including cow vigilante attacks against members of the Dalit and Muslim communities, and the existence of anti-conversion laws in nine states” are not in keeping with India’s legal protections for minorities.

Congresswoman Alice Spanberger, (D-VA) a former CIA intelligence officer, asked whether India has shared examples of terror attacks and incidents that have been thwarted due to the communications blockade. When Wells stated that she could not comment, Spanberger asked for a classified hearing so that US officials could give their assessment on the validity of the national security argument of the Indian government. Chair Sherman associated himself with her questioning and vowed to take her suggestion seriously.

Chairman Brad Sherman, as well as several other Congresspeople both on and off the House Foreign Relations Committee, asked several pertinent and critical questions.

Questioning the Indian Government narrative Chairman Sherman asked if the United is “supposed to trust these government of India officials when the government of India doesn’t allow our diplomats to visit?” Representative Sheila Jackson asked if reputable Indian diplomats or journalists had ever been denied entry into any state in the United States?

Indian American Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal (D-WA) referred to a report about the detention of dozens of children in Kashmir and said detention without charges is unacceptable. She expressed her concerns about religious freedom in India and said that she proposes to bring a bipartisan resolution in Congress.

Sheila Jackson Lee of Texas and David Cicilline of Rhode Island both had a heavy human rights approach to the questioning. Congresswoman Lee asked Assistant Secretary Destro if he would describe the situation as a “humanitarian crisis,” Mr Destro said, “Yes, it is.” She then went on to call the United States government to stop a potential genocide.

Washington has not changed its stance on the designation of the Line of Control. Chairman Sherman brought up the issue of disputed territory to the State Department.“We consider the Line of Control (LoC) a de facto line separating two parts of Kashmir,” answered Wells. “We recognize de facto administrations on both sides of LoC.”

The subcommittee focused on personal testimonies as well as human rights organization Amnesty’s testimony during the second half of the hearing.

Though no Kashmiri Muslims testified, the panel presented electrifying testimonies from Dr. Nitasha Kaul, a Kashmiri and Dr. Angana Chatterji, an anthropologist at the University of California, Berkeley. Bearing witness to the rising fascism and Hindu nationalism’s grip on India, both witnesses brought up beef lynchings, with Chatterji raising the concern of the genocidal inclinations of the Modi government. 

“Hindu majoritarianism – the cultural nationalism and political assertion of the Hindu majority – sanctifies India as intrinsically Hindu and marks the non-Hindu as its adversary. Race and nation are made synonymous, and Hindus –the formerly colonized, now governing, elite – are depicted as the national race,” said Dr. Chatterji.

Kashmiri witness Dr. Nitisha Kaul stated in her testimony that “human rights defenders, who were already under severe pressure, since August 5 are unable to function in Kashmir. For instance, every year on 30 August, the UN Day of the Victims of Enforced Disappearance, Association of Parents of Disappeared Persons led by Ms Parveena Ahangar, organises a vigil protest involving hundreds of elderly women and men whose sons had become victims of for instance, in the most recent parliamentary elections, the voters’ turnout was very low and in many booths, not a single vote was cast.”

Kaul emphasized the extension of the oppression, by highlighting that this year the peaceful gathering of elderly parents mourning and waiting for their disappeared sons was not allowed. She shared Ahanga’s quote: “This year we have been strangled, and there was no coming there was no coming together because, through its siege, India has denied us even the right to mourn.”

Ilhan Omar challenged Indian journalist Aarti Tikoo Singh’s take that the siege was in place to save Muslim women from “terrorists.” This is a trope that is often used to wage war and is especially used in the so-called “war on terror.” “It is a very colonial move on the part of the nation-states around it as if they are “liberating Kashmiri women,” said Dr. Kaul.

Chatterji bore witness to the woes of Kashmiri women who bear the brunt of the Indian occupational forces’ sexual brutality. “The woman’s body becomes the battlefield,” she said replying to a question by Congresswoman Houlahan from Pennsylvania. Dr. Kaul stated that the 1944 new Kashmir manifesto contained an entire section on gender rights. She spoke on the equity and equality in Kashmir: “They go to protests. Women become heads of households because of dead husbands.”

She also reminded the committee that BJP’s Amit Shah, also part of the government in 2002 and responsible for the program on Muslim community stated that Western human rights cannot be blindly applied here in India.

Representative Wild from Pennsylvania asked why the Indian government would not allow transparency. When human rights organizations and journalists can work in active war zones, she rejected the anti-terrorism narrative pushed by Ravi Batra, a last-minute BJP addition to the panel. “When there isn’t transparency something is being hidden and this is what really concerns me terribly,” said Wild.

A Sindhi-American witness spoke on minority rights in Pakistan, especially the forced conversion of Hindus. This is a concern that needs to be tackled by Muslims as there is no compulsion in Islam and is antithetical to the religion.

During the hearing, Amnesty International reported thousands in detention under the Public Safety Act while the State Department numbered it at hundreds. Dr. Asif Mahmoud, a key organizer, presented the health situation in Kashmir.

The overall situation of the Rohingya was covered and links were made to the start of the genocide in Burma and the parallels in India. The members of the House referred to it as genocide with the State Department still calling it ethnic cleansing.

Although the hearing focused on the current state of Jammu and Kashmir and not much was brought up about self-determination or the plebiscite, Kashmiri-Americans and their supporters left the hearing room satisfied that their voices were heard for the first time in the halls of the US Congress.

What was most concerning point of the entire hearing was that Kashmir was not brought up categorically as disputed territory and the issue was referred to as an integral matter of India. This needs deep, consistent and long-term work by advocates of Kashmir. With the continuous rise of RSS, Indian minority issues need a much sharper focus, and a regular pounding of the pavements of Congress to educate the Foreign Relations committees.

Some action items for American Muslims post-hearing.

Continue Reading

#Current Affairs

An Urgent Call Regarding the Plight of Shaykh Salman al-Ouda, Shaykh Awad al-Qarni, and Dr. Ali al-Omari

Shaykh Salman Younas



Saudi scholars, injustice
Which deeds are most beloved to Allah?

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

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

دعوة عاجلة بخصوص أزمة الشيخ سلمان العودة، والشيخ عوض القرني، والدكتور علي العمري

الحمد لله، والصلاة والسلام على رسول الله محمد وآله

السلام عليكم ورحمة الله وبركاته

لقد تلقينا بقلق بالغ ما يتوارد من أخبار غير مؤكدة حول الإعدام الوشيك للشيخ سلمان العودة، و الشيخ عوض القرني، و الدكتور علي العمري

لقد علمنا الإسلام أن الحياة نعمة من الله و إن أولئك الذين يعملون على حرمان أى أحد من هذه النعمة دون أساس شرعي واضح قد ارتكبوا إثمًا فظيعًا عدّه الله من الكبائر: وَمَن يَقْتُلْ مُؤْمِنًا مُّتَعَمِّدًا فَجَزَاؤُهُ جَهَنَّمُ خَالِدًا فِيهَا وَغَضِبَ اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَلَعَنَهُ وَأَعَدَّ لَهُ عَذَابًا عَظِيمًا (سورة النساء، 93)

حرمة المؤمن

إن رسول الله ﷺ وصحابته قد اعتبروا حياة كل من نطق الشهادة، وكذا ماله وعرضه حرامًا لا يُقبل انتهاكها ولقد حرصوا كل الحرص على ألا ينتهكوا تلك الحقوق الأصلية حتى في تطبيق الحدود

قال رسول الله ﷺ: ادفَعوا الحدود ما وجدْتم لها مدفعًا (سنن ابن ماجة)، وقال ابن مسعود: ادرءوا الجلد والقتل عن المسلمين ما استطعتم (السنن الكبرى)

إن حرمة دم المسلم عند رسول الله ﷺ عظيمة جدًا، فلزوال الدنيا أهون عنده من قتل امرئٍ مسلم (سنن الترمذي)

ولقد كان السلف يقولون عند طوافهم بالكعبة: ما أعظمك وأعظم حرمتك، والمؤمن أعظم حرمةً عند الله منك (رواه الترمذي)

التماس رأفة

في ضوء الهدي النبوي، وعِظم أمر انتهاك الحقوق الأصلية التي منحها الإسلام للمسلم، فإننا نطالب السلطات المعنية بأن يوقفوا أي خطة مبيتة لإعدام الشيخ سلمان العودة، والشيخ عوض القرني، والدكتور علي العمري، سواءً في المستقبل القريب أو البعيد

نطالب أولئك الذين في السلطة أن يصدروا عفوًا في حقهم في هذا الشهر المبارك

إننا نؤمن بيقين أن هؤلاء العلماء لم يقترفوا أى شيءٍ يبرر التعامل المروع الذي يتعرضون له لمدة عام وأكثر وإننا نطلق هذا النداء كنصيحة صادقة، محققين دورنا كعلماء عليهم واجب بيان الحق، ومستحضرين أن كل واحد فينا سيسأل عن عمله في الآخرة حيث الظلم ظلمات لا تفضي إلا إلى عذاب النار

والله في عون المظلومين واللهم صل وسلم وبارك على سيدنا محمد

17 رمضان 1440 /22 مايو 2019

كتب بواسطة (الشيخ) سلمان يونس


An Urgent Call Regarding the Plight of Shaykh Salman al-Ouda, Shaykh Awad al-Qarni, and Dr. Ali al-Omari

All praise belongs to Allah, and blessings upon the Prophet Muhammad and His family.

Peace and mercy be upon you:

It is with great concern and perturbation that we have received unconfirmed reports regarding the imminent execution of Shaykh Salman al-Ouda, Shaykh Awad al-Qarni, and Dr. Ali al-Omari.

Islam teaches us that life is a blessing from Allah. Those who seek to deprive someone of this blessing without a clearly sanctioned religious basis have committed an act that God deems atrocious and a mighty sin: “If anyone kills a believer deliberately, the punishment for him is Hell, and there he will remain: Allah is angry with him, and rejects him, and has prepared a tremendous torment for him.”(Qur’an, 4:93)

The Inviolability of the Believer

The Prophet ﷺ and his Companions viewed the life, wealth, and honor of all who uttered the testimony of faith (shahada) as inviolable. They took immense care not to impede on these basic rights even in the context of enacting punishments.

The Prophet ﷺ said, “Avoid applying punishments as long as you are able to find an excuse to avert them,”(Sunan Ibn Majah) and Ibn Masʿud stated, “Avoid flogging and applying the death penalty upon people as much as you can.”(Sunan al-Kubra)

Indeed, the sanctity of the believer was so great in the eyes of the Prophet ﷺ that he deemed the destruction of the world as a lighter affair than the killing of even a single Muslim. (Sunan al-Tirmidhi)

Similarly, the early Muslims (salaf) would remark when gazing upon the Kaʿba, “The inviolability of a believer is greater with Allah than your inviolability.” (Sunan al-Tirmidhi) There are few statements one can imagine as emphatic as these in affirmation of the rank of the believer.

A Call for Clemency

In light of the guidance of the Prophet ﷺ and the gravity of depriving a Muslim of the fundamental rights granted to him or her by Islam, we urge the authorities in question to immediately cease any plans to execute Shaykh Salman al-Ouda, Shaykh Awad al-Qarni, and Dr. Ali al-Omari in the immediate or distant future.

We urge those in the leadership to grant them clemency in this blessed month of Ramadan.

It is our firm belief that the actions of these scholars do not in any way justify the appalling treatment they have been subjected to over the past year and more. We make this call in the spirit of providing sincere counsel, realizing our role as scholars duty-bound to the expression of truth, and recognizing that each of us will be held accountable for our actions in the next life where oppression will be nothing but darkness leading to perdition.

And Allah is in the aid of His oppressed servants. May the blessings and peace of Allah be upon His Prophet.

Ramadan 17th, 1440

May 22nd, 2019

Drafted by Shaykh Salman Younas

Signatories (v. 2)

Shaykh Faraz Rabbani


Dr. Yasir Qadhi

Islamic Seminary of America

Shaykh Omer Suleiman


Dr. Ingrid Mattson



Dr. Omar Qureshi




Dr. Abdullah Hamid Ali



Shaykh Mustapha Elturk

Amir, Islamic Organization of North America


Shaykh Rami Nsour

Tayba Foundation

Dr. Shadee Elmasry

Safina Society

Mufti Muhammad ibn Adam al-Kawthari

Director of Darul Iftaa Leicester


Shaykh Azhar Nasser

Tasneem Institute



Professor John Esposito

Georgetown University



Mufti Abdur-Rahman ibn Yusuf



Dr. Jonathan Brown

Georgetown University

Professor Mohammad Fadel

University of Toronto

Imam Suhaib Webb

Scholar in Residence, ICNYU

Shaykh Shams ad-Duha

Ebrahim College


Ustadha Zaynab Ansari

Tayseer Seminary


Dalia Mogahed



Imam Dawud Walid

Member of Michigan Imams Council



Dr. Asim Yusuf




Dr. Ovamir Anjum

University of Toledo


Dr. Abdullah Hakim Quick



Shaykh Hani Saleem

Islamic Center of Detroit

Dr. Shabbir Ally


Shaykh Furhan Zubairi

Dean of IOK Seminary


Dr. Ihsan Bagby

University of Kentucky


Shaykh Mohammed Faqih

Islamic Institute of Orange County


Shaykh Bilal Ali Ansari

Khalil Center

Mohammad Elshinawy

Yaqeen Institute


Shaykh Abdur Rahman Khan

Co-Chair of National Catholic-Muslim Dialogue


Shaykh Sulaiman Gani



Dr. Hamid Slimi



Mufti Taha Karaan

South Africa

Shaykh Sadullah Khan

South Africa

Dr. Muzammil H. Siddiqi

Chairman of Fiqh Council of America



Shaykh Taha Abdul-Basser


Imam Ibrahim Hindy

Dar al-Tawheed Islamic Center



Dr. Basma Abdelgafar

Vice President of Maqasid Institute Global


Prof. Jasser Auda

President of Maqasid Institute Global


Laila Mehar

Former President of UConn SJP


Dr. Osman Latiff

Jamia Masjid and Islamic Center


Imam Abdul-Malik Ryan

DePaul University


Imam John Ederer

Muslim Community Center of Charlotte


Shaykh Amer Jamil



Shaykh Bilal Ismail

Imam Development Project


Shaykh Muhammad Mustaqeem Shah



Dr. Bekim Hasani

Imam and Activist



Imam Imran Salha



Dr. Tajul Islam University of Leeds


Dr. Mustapha Sheikh

University of Leeds


Dr. Ahmed Soboh

Religious Director of Chino Valley Islamic Center


Dr. Rafaqat Rashid

Al Balagh Academy


Imam Shafi Chowdhury



Buthaina Hawas-Neveln

Iraqi Journalist


Shaykh Salmaan Parkar Australian Islamic College


Muslema Purmul

The Majlis

Dr. Mohammad Ilyas,

University of Florida


Dr. Asif Hirani

Imam and Resident Scholar of Worcester Islamic Center


Shaykh Ahmad Kutty

Resident Scholar of Islamic Institute of Toronto


Shaykh Mohammad Aman Haque



Imam Mazhar Mahmood

Director of Islamic Foundation of Peoria


Ishraq Ali

Organizing Director of MPower Change


Usman Qamar

Muslim Chaplaincy of Waterloo


Mawlana Zakariyah Harneker


Shaykh Shahinur Rahman

al-Rahma, UK


Shaykh Abdul Wahab Saleem

Salik Academy

Dr. Usaama Al-Azami

Markfield Institute

Ustadh Samir Hussain

ISNA High School


Shaykh Tariq AtaDr. Zaid alBarzinji

Maqasid Institute

Shaykh Abdur Rahim Reasat


Mufti Liaquat Zaman

Birmingham, UK


Imam Salim Astewani

Cheshire, UK



Shaykh Tabraze Azam



Dr. Sharif El-Tobgui

Brandeis University



Ismail Royer


Imam Qasim Rashid

Al-Khayr Foundation


Dr. Yvonne Haddad

Georgetown University

Omar Usman

Executive Director, MuslimMatters


Shaykh Muhammad Abuelezz

Muslim Association of Canada


Mufti Ismail Syed


Mawlana Safwaan Navlakhi

Al-Ma’aly Institute

South Africa


Dr. Ildus Rafikov


Aamir Ansari


Shaykh Hassan Rabbani

Zia-Ul-Quran Mosque


Ustadha Umm Jamaal ud-Din

Islamic College of Australia

Dr. Munir Elkassem

President, Islamic Institute of Interfaith Dialogue

Dr. Yusuf Salah

Khalil Foundation


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#Current Affairs

#UnitedForOmar – Imam Omar Suleiman Smeared by Right-Wing News After Opening Prayer at US House of Representatives

Zeba Khan



Which deeds are most beloved to Allah?

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

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Sh. Omar Suleiman delivered the opening prayer in the US House of Representatives yesterday, May, 9th, 2019  at the invitation of Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson (D) of Dallas.

Immediately since, right wing media platforms have begun spreading negative coverage of the Imam Omar Suleiman – calling him anti-semitic, a common tactic used to discredit both Muslim activists as well as criticism of Israel policies.

News outlets citing the criticism have pointed to a post from The Investigative Project on Terrorism or ITP, as the source. The  ITP was founded by and directed by noted Islamophobe Steven Emerson. Emerson’s history of hate speech has been documented for over two decades.

Since then, the story has been carried forward by multiple press outlets.

The immediate consequence of this has been the direction of online hate towards what has been Imam Omar Suleiman’s long history of preaching unity in the US socio-political sphere.

“Since my invocation I’ve been inundated with hate articles, threats, and other tactics of intimidation to silence me over a prayer for unity,” Imam Omar Suleiman says. “These attacks are in bad faith and meant to again send a message to the Muslim community that we are not welcome to assert ourselves in any meaningful space or way.”

MuslimMatters is proud to stand by Imam Omar Suleiman, and we invite our readers to share the evidence that counters the accusations against him of anti-semitism, bigotry, and hate. We would also encourage you to reach out, support, and amplify voices of support like Representative E.B.Johnson, and Representative Colin Allred.

You can help counter the false narrative, simply by sharing evidence of Imam Omar Suleiman’s work. It speaks for itself, and you can share it at the hashtag #UnitedForOmar


A Priest, a Rabbi, and an Imam Walk Into a Church in Dallas

At an interfaith panel discussion, three North Texas religious leaders promoted understanding and dialogue among Muslims, Jews, and Christians. Amid a vexed political and social climate, three religious leaders in North Texas—a priest, an imam, and a rabbi—proved it’s possible to come together in times of division. Source:

Muslim congregation writes letters of support to Dallas Jewish Community

The congregation, led by Imam Omar Suleiman, penned more than 150 cards and letters. source: WFAA News

Historic action: Muslims and Jews for Dreamers

“We must recognize that the white supremacy that threatens the black and Latino communities, is the same white supremacy that spurs Islamophobia and antisemitism,” -Imam Omar Suleiman

Source: Bend The Arc

Through Dialogue, Interfaith Leaders Hope North Texans Will Better Understand Each Other

“When any community is targeted, they need to see a united faith voice — that all communities come together and express complete rejection of anything that would pit our society against one another more than it already is.” -Imam Omar Suleiman

Source: Kera News


Conversations at The Carter Center: Harmonizing Religion and Human Rights 

Source: The Carter Center

Imam: After devastating New Zealand attack, we will not be deterred

My wife and I decided to take our kids to a synagogue in Dallas the night after the massacre at Tree of Life in Pittsburgh to grieve and show solidarity with the Jewish community. My 5-year-old played with kids his age while we mourned inside, resisting hate even unknowingly with his innocence…” Source: CNN


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