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Everything You Ever Wanted to Know about Intimacy for Muslim Couples

Men and women have different needs but BOTH men and women are sensual beings and they BOTH need sensual fulfillment.

MuslimMatters

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Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4

For mature audience only:

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Intimacy between spouses is a beautiful act of worship. A divine experience that has been mired by anxieties fueled by hypersexualized media, Hollywood movies, many cultural beliefs from the East and misinformed 18th century notions rooted in the West.

It took a year of contemplation for us to publicly address this topic in a broadcast, but the need amongst Muslim couples was so great that we had to put aside our hesitations. The Prophet, sallallahu alihi wasalam and the sahaba and sahabiyaat were not shy to discuss these matters.

Usually when sexual intimacy is discussed in public it is not from a female lens, hence we want to collaborate with our male shuyookh by providing the female perspective, so we can all contribute to healthy marriages.

If we look at intimacy as both a physical and spiritual act and climaxing as the epitome of pleasure that Allah has gifted us, it is easier to understand why it is meant to be a source of Divine Love for both men and women.

As you will hear today that intimacy has become a serious problem in many marriages—  there are many guilt and shame based misconceptions that cause problems between spouses often leading to divorce. Our main motive is to foster healthy marriages, Allah says he loves those who foster purity and marriage is the best way to guard our desires.

We don’t want to generalize because generalization can hurt a relationship and each relationship is as different as the people involved in it. Let’s not play the blame game after listening to this. We want couples to listen together in hopes of understanding and bettering their marriage.

Men Complain:

-“My wife doesn’t want to have intercourse”

-Frequency is mainly a concern amongst men

-“My wife doesn’t actively participate in intimacy, or never initiates”

Women Complain:

-Quality of intimacy

-Lack of foreplay

-Most common complaints: “He fails to give me a climax.”

[button color=”red” size=”big” alignment=”center” rel=”follow” openin=”newwindow” url=”http://muslimmatters.org/2010/10/25/psychology-from-islamic-perspective-how-to-score-big-with-women/”]How To Score BIG With Women: An Islamic and Psychological Approach for Men[/button]

Why is there a Difference between Men’s and Women’s Complaints about Intimacy?

Different needs but BOTH men and women are sensual beings and they BOTH need sensual fulfillment.

Top needs for men include:

-#1 Need: Mutual satisfaction (contrary to popular belief that men only want their own sexual satisfaction they, naturally, want to satisfy their wives too)

-Responsiveness of their spouse – men want their wives engaged during the act: mentally, emotionally and physically

-Men desire initiation by their wife —they long to feel wanted, desired and affirmed

-Men also want to be complimented

Generally, men see intimacy as an escape or release of tension.  They need the intimate act to open up emotionally.

Unfortunately, women continue to be restricted sexually by:

-Shame

-Guilt

-Social and society influence

-Religiously perceived notions

-Family taboos

[button color=”red” size=”big” alignment=”center” rel=”follow” openin=”newwindow” url=”http://muslimmatters.org/2013/05/03/vignettes-on-female-sexuality/”]Sex MashaAllah: Vignettes on Female Sexuality[/button]

Women have sexual needs:

Instead of being able to fully express their sensual nature, women are restricted to being “emotional” only and ripped apart from their “sexual” side.

A woman can be as sensual as she is spiritual, as erotic as she is intellectual and as climatic as she is emotional.

There is a common ground in the complaints—of both men and women— and it is “intimacy”, but:

-Men want intimacy and they want their wives’ participation, and more frequently

-Women have complaints about the quality of intimacy

Many men not only have a huge misunderstanding about women’s sexuality, shockingly many still wonder whether or not a woman is able to reach her climax. Yet, many confuse pleasing a woman in bed as equivalent to fondling only and not making her experience a climax.

Majority of married Muslim women complain about “satisfaction” during intimacy.

The word “satisfaction” is often confused with fondling or fore-playing only. The truth is that if and when explicitly asked, these women explicitly complain about not being able to reach their climax.

SO while men complain about lack of participation of frequency of intimacy, women lose interest because they don’t want to be intimate if they can’t reach their climax. It’s a cycle and unless men understand women’s need of sexuality, women will continue to lose interest that can lead to dangerous consequences.

Next video and outline can be watched here

 

 

 

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21 Comments

21 Comments

  1. Avatar

    nadia

    March 24, 2015 at 11:40 AM

    March 1st? Or April 1st…

    • Avatar

      Mia

      March 25, 2015 at 11:51 PM

      JazakAllah khair for this article. Patricularly the comment about women being emotional and men being sexual. Its getting so annoying hearing shuyookh discuss male and female sexuality and emphasize or make it seem like women are only emotional and men are so overly sexual that that is all they think about and it drives everything they do so much so that we women have to wear hijab for that very reason.

      News flash – women are very sexual too. Just like there are men with high sex drives or low sex drives, same goes for women. We are tired of hearing shuyookh essentially nullify our sex drive in their kind way and explain our lack of desiring sex because we are ultimately sexual but thats far from the truth.

      I could go on forever with this subject but I am just so relieved knowledgeable sisters like yourselves are taking this desperately needed initiative to speak for sisters unapologetically.
      JazakAllah khair again!!

  2. Avatar

    mo

    March 27, 2015 at 4:18 AM

    Thank you for this article, coming from a Pakistani family sex was always a taboo…. Until it came to my grandmother, when I hit puberty (as she did with all her granddaughters)…. Shortly before she passed away she told me that the secret to healthy marriage was lots of good sex. When the sex goes so does the marriage…. N you can always tell the state of someone’s marriage depending on their sex life. Over the last 20 odd years I found this to be one of the best advice that I was ever told.

  3. Avatar

    att

    March 27, 2015 at 12:06 PM

    I’m not married. I’m just a malaysian medical student in egypt. I find that this issue is not just something that has to be directed toward only the married crowd but also Teenagers. Alhamdulillah though I never got the sex talk from my parents I managed to understand it enough to know that it is not as television depicts it to be. Nor is it shameful (in marriages of course) but I find it mind numbingly frustrating that many of my friends dont even understand what it is. As in when I brought it up and tried to explain all I received were dumbfounded and horrified faces.

    I don’t think there is any shame in explaining what sex is. It’s mechanism, the rules, or the realities of it (unlike what the television tries to have you believe). I think the best way to create a healthy sexual intimacy in a marriage is to ensure a complete understanding of it before the marriage.

    however this is a problem for me. I have 4 younger sisters and I have no idea how to approach the issue with them. I’m especially worried concerning my immediate sister after me who is 16. Even worse is that schools don’t handle this issue. It’s taboo. In fact our whole society is rather tight lipped on the matter. You either end up with WAY to much knowledge on the matter or too little.most of the time it’s the girls who have to handle the consequences in worse case scenarios.

    • Avatar

      rachel schakel

      January 3, 2017 at 3:15 PM

      Why dont you just talk to your husbands and tell them what you like and what makes you feel good. Ask them why they dont want to touch you or what they like. Its called communication.

  4. Avatar

    KE

    March 28, 2015 at 4:47 PM

    Jazakum Allah khyran for addressing this subject. It is a very important topic for muslim couples. I have been married for 19 years and have been looking for an islamic discussion on this subject since I got married but could not find any. I hope I will be able to use your valuable knowledge to make our marriage more meaningful.

    KE

  5. Pingback: Erroneous Eastern Cultural Beliefs about Female Sexuality

  6. Avatar

    Mohammed Siddiqui

    March 29, 2015 at 7:54 PM

    Teh peerane kaleesa wa haram Haaye waaye majboori
    Sila inn ki kado kaawish ka hai Yeh seenon ki benoori

    “Islamic feminism at its peak”

    No wonder why muslim marriages don’t last long now a days.

    Instead of teaching how to reach climax or demand climax from your spouse, it may be more prudent and useful to teach how to be content.

    No wonder why the alims and shuyookh will be the first to be questioned.

    Keep up with your halal sex talk. Great going

    • Avatar

      KK

      March 18, 2018 at 6:13 AM

      How ignorant. It is sentiments like yours that destroy marriages. It is part of the sunnah to ensure the wife’s desires are fully met in addition to the husband’s, even when he has finished but she has not. May Allah guide us all.

    • Avatar

      Yusuf

      April 23, 2019 at 12:13 PM

      How can a man overcome low sexual confidence?? I am infertile and can’t father children but both wife and I have come to terms with it.

      Problem is I struggle to have intercourse even though I engage in foreplay. Sometimes I artificially satisfy wife’s needs by touch without me getting intimate for fear of not getting aroused.

      I have normal male hormone levels but I think now I’ve lost my job and wife starts at 9am, she is tired even though she works part time. I have taken the male pill but doesn’t work unless both are in the mood.

      I’m really frustrated as I know masturbation is a sin. What can I do?

      Bro Yusuf

  7. Avatar

    Umm

    March 30, 2015 at 9:35 PM

    These articles in MM has bi idnillah greatly improved our sexlife.
    Some things that was essential for our change were
    1.proper knowledge about sexlife (pleasure spots for both)from clean sources.
    2.No blaming the husband while communicating the issue.
    3.expressing support,care and love for each other’s needs
    4.feeling confident and participating actively during foreplay and sex.

  8. Avatar

    RandMale

    March 31, 2015 at 10:57 AM

    I agree in general, but I have also noticed that there is sharp feelings in the bedroom regarding freedom and control whether it is consciously or only subconsciously. Men and women can become controlling of the act of intimacy and what they want to do/get out of it and what their conceptions are about the act itself. Sometimes the controlling factor can be about what NOT to do, or what is not being allowed, while sometimes it is about what one partner wants the other partner to do during intimacy. This can lead to conflict in the bedroom, which can also escalate away from the bedroom. Similarly confrontational behaviour outside of the bedroom can resurface during intimacy with negative outcomes, or no satisfying outcomes at all… these can also escalate ongoing problems in relationships. as regards to freedom, people knows that there are certain things which for both partners are taboo, then there are things only one partner might not be sure about or disapproves of, and the other partner might be willing to be persuasive or at least does not like the outright dismissiveness of such acts, eg through name-calling or put-downs which can make the acts feel less intimate and less desirable.

    Also, sleep, prayers, chores, work-life balance and other routines including eating/diet can overlap with sexual intimacy. Some things can have longer impact on an individual due to stress, tensions and mood.

    Lastly, excessive passion sometimes is a turn-on especially early in the relationship, but then later when passion cools, expressing feelings of love, desire and tenderness can become disparate and this might lead to divergences in the relationship as regards male/female views about what is “appropriate” or “suitable” or “proper” in terms of expressing desires, showing love and attitudes towards passion and tender intimacy. Often with women seeking comfort and security and men wanting excitement or physical action. This can be daunting at times and the bedroom can sometimes end up feeling like a battleground, which does not help matters. And to finish, previous sexual experiences/encounters can also have an influence on what each partner considers either as “normal” or “offensive” (“not normal”).

    Also, spiritual practice should not necessarily mean contentment with one’s partner during intimacy is somehow less spiritual.

  9. Avatar

    wanna learn

    April 1, 2015 at 7:07 PM

    Dear editors, does this article end on the first page?
    I kept searching for information on how to learn how make a woman reach her climax and what really is climax for her. I couldn’t find anything in this article.

  10. Avatar

    wanna learn

    April 1, 2015 at 7:14 PM

    I meant I couldn’t find anything in this article regarding things mentioned above.
    Otherwise the article has good necessary information. JazakAllah for making the effort to transform our lives.
    Please help.

  11. Avatar

    Haji Abdul Kareem Nandasena

    April 2, 2015 at 8:07 AM

    Request Your kind permission to translate these creative pieces into Sinhala language, and to circulate its copies among the invitees at a couple of awareness programmes. (Note:Sinhala is the language of the majority of Sri Lanka of which the majority are Buddhists while the rest are Catholics/Christians.)
    Wish You All More Wisdom, More Courage, More Health, and More Patience.
    Thanking You.
    Haji Abdul Kareem Nandasena.

  12. Pingback: Everything You Ever Wanted to Know about Intimacy: Erroneous Western Cultural Beliefs about Female Sexuality - MuslimMatters.org

  13. Avatar

    Anum

    July 13, 2015 at 4:43 PM

    Every woman think that how my future husband will be liked. Husband and wife are alike a wheels of a car. They can’t move onwards without support of each other. A husband should be pious and have Allah’s fear in heart because Islam has assigned complete duties to husband about his wife. The 3 top features of my future husband, a woman should see are as follows.
    • Responsible and Supportive Person
    • Wife Caring Person
    • Attentive Person

    *This comment was edited by the MM Comments Team in order to comply with our Comments Policy*

  14. Avatar

    Zizou

    July 31, 2015 at 5:37 PM

    About time some analysis was provided on this topic.

    I’ve been married for around ten years, keep myself fit and I would regard myself as attractive (without trying to sound arrogant). My wife never instigates anything nor feels like sharing a bed. She claims to be tired which I understand due to having kids. However there comes a point when a man begins to question this and over a period of time becomes fed up of being the one who initiates everything. Marriage is to provide protection from zinnah but in a lot of cases it is going the opposite.

  15. Pingback: » Intimacy for Muslim Couples: The Anti-Climax

  16. Avatar

    Luna

    March 29, 2016 at 11:44 PM

    Assalamu Alaikum , I am very happy to learn from these lectures about we women faces humiliation with our physical needs. I have similar issues that I never got the chance to talk to the right expert person . I cry to Allah Subahanatala for his help . It is been 22 years of my marriage and my husband never does satisfied me with my desires. I was actually never satisfied with his giving. Over the years leaving me pain and unsatisfactory with my husband that I don’t engaged with him any sexually for 6 years . I am leaving with like roommate and hollow emptiness in my life . I want to seek help but I don’t where and to whom I can discuss my problems. I want to get out from my marriage but I can’t cause I am not financially independent nor I know any man available for me . I am living dead .

    • Avatar

      Anonymous

      October 11, 2017 at 10:49 PM

      Salaam

      First off, could you write next time with better grammar so people can respond to you? It took me a while to fully understand your post with its grammar issues, so this will turn people off from wanting to help you.

      From what I could gather, you were married for 22 years, I assume divorced and living with a female roommate. You feel the need to marry to satisfy yourself. That is fine and acceptable, maybe perhaps try finding if there are other divorced men out there who are willing to marry you, also converts are not as cultural as other muslims and would be way more open to marry you, or you can ask someone else for better advice on this issue. However, what I can give you advice for is twofold.

      One, if you really have strong sexual desires, then bring this up as a talking point to your potential spouse before the marriage. Yes, this is possible, and since you are older I don’t think you need a wali anymore. But, you must have a fairly open and public discussion with your potential spouse about intimacy needs. A good person to have someone proctor your talk with the potential husband would be a muslim couple’s therapist, psychologist, etc. as they have professional knowledge of sexuality and can help you. Essentially, someone like the muslimah’s you have written this article. Also, you can even have like a skype or google hangouts session, phone call, etc. with your potential spouse and talk to them about your intimacy needs and have your chosen muslim therapist or psychologist, etc. be available in and be listening in during the conversation with your potential spouse. I know for a fact an Organization named “Noor Human Consulting” that you can google can help you out and is indeed available for online and offline help. Also, you can try your luck at “Purify your Gaze” however they are an organization that specializes in providing help both online and offline for those addicted or heavily dependent on pornography. However, I have heard them help out in cases relating to intimacy issues both online and offline. Of course, there are other muslim organizations that can help you with this and not just the two I mentioned, so feel free to explore.

      Second, I am pretty sure this will all come out when you talk to these professionals with your spouse-to-be, but one thing you have to understand is that your “needs” are as much your responsibility to fulfill as is his. That is, you need to make sure that when if in say the future you find a husband and he wants to be intimate with you, communicate with him and tell him what he needs to do to satisfy you. Don’t expect him to read your mind, and don’t expect to flop on the bed and expect him to do EVERYTHING and you just lie there and stare at him with blank eyes. Also, in my opinion men like to experiment and will find “alternate ways” to make their wives reach their climax. So don’t be taken aback when your husband proposes he do things like oral stimulation among other things with you that he due to his “body part” not being fit for the job after he climaxes. Be open to your husband and his experimentative yet halal ideas. However, whatever you do DON’T DEMEAN HIS EFFORTS AND SHOVE ALL THE BLAME ON HIM, assuming he is sincere in trying to please you. Chances are, most muslim women who complain of sexual dissatisfaction in a marriage may be contributing more to their own dissatisfaction than their husband is, by for example coming into the bedroom with mental baggage, denying him sex when you don’t want it and giving him less desire to please you as you don’t please him when the time comes but he has to stop everything to please you, not respecting him and his decisions (Of course there should be no respect when he does wants something haram or unethical or if he is abusing you emotionally, spiritually, or physically abusing you or being PURPOSELY sexually negligent towards you) as men REALLY value and have more of a desire to please their wives if they respect the husband and his decisions. It is not me saying this, but western universities that have done psychological studies on men and what they most desire from the opposite sex in the relationship, and respect for his decisions and loyalty are at the top for men.

      I wish you Allah’s blessings in your search for a spouse. Don’t give up, and expand your horizon and search criteria when looking for a partner. I don’t mean marry a fat guy as that guy should be told to lose weight before the marriage, but be open to those men, who of course must be diligent muslims, who you initially did not want to marry due to cultural biases. Also, if you come to a desperation point you could try to maybe seek out a spouse the HALAL way online via muslim matrimonial online services. Also, a word of caution make sure the guy who you find online is single or divorced, as sometimes muslim men who are married and “looking for a 2,3, or 4th wife”, without the 1st wife’s knowledge, as this could involve you in a very heated and tense situation.

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Podcast: David’s Dollar | Tariq Touré and Khaled Nurhssien

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We often preach about our children learning the importance of money, group economics, and developing healthy spending habits. How awesome would it be to have a fully illustrated picture book that explores how a dollar travels from hand-to-hand?

Join Khaled Nurhssien and award winning poet and author Tariq Touré as they discuss Tariq’s new children’s book David’s Dollar. In this Interview they touch on art, Islam’s approach to community and Tariq’s creative process.

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Beyond 2020: Grounding Our Politics in Community

Kyle Ismail, Guest Contributor

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As tense and agonizing as these unending election days have been, it pales in comparison to the last four years.  I plainly remember how it all began on the night of November 07, 2016. I watched as the political map of the US became increasingly red late into the night. All the social media banter, conspiracy theories and left-wing critiques of candidate Hillary Clinton, formed an amorphous blob of white noise as I heard Trump announced as the next president. Now that Trump has run for re-election, half the country was hoping for a repudiation but will have to settle for the fact that despite a small margin, Donald J. Trump will not have a second chance to erode our democratic institutions and divide us. But we can’t move forward until each of us acknowledges our own pathological role in what we’ve become as a deeply divided country. 

We need to grapple with how we can gradually improve the circus-like reality that has become our ordinary, daily politics. We’ll relive more and perhaps improved “Trumps” if we don’t accept our own responsibility in creating a divided America. This starts with being better members of local communities. Here are a few of Trump-induced realizations that I’ve come to accept:

  1. Caring about our immediate neighbors and listening to their challenges and concerns is the part of political engagement that we all have to embrace above and beyond actually voting if we hope to be more than a 50/50 nation.
  2. Social media and its profit-driven algorithms are actually eroding how we see each other but could also be altered to help better educate us about our local social/political landscape.
  3. Local Politics has direct impact on our lives and is also at the heart our religious obligations to our neighbors. It also sets the tone for where the federal level derives policies that prove to be best practices (some examples are included below).
  4. Agitation and protest are not the same as being politically organized on a local level. Protest is sometimes needed, but it will never replace consistent and patient work. We learned this lesson with the Arab Spring as that movement failed to transform into a movement that was able to govern effectively. And the same appears to be true about the Black Lives Matter movement.

The voting is over for now. But voting is really the smallest part of being committed to bettering our communities. It was Prophet Muhammad ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) who gave the most specific definition of community/neighbor and encouraged his followers to guard the rights of the neighbor:

“Your neighbor is 40 houses ahead of you and 40 houses at your back, 40 houses to your left and 40 houses to your right” Prophet Muhammad ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him)

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Why does this relate to being politically organized?? The need for political organizing comes when any group of people want to create change in accordance with their values. We’ve all watched protest after protest that change little to nothing at the neighborhood level. This will continue to happen without organization, which span school boards, block clubs, nonprofits, and religious community outreach.  How can Muslims enjoin right and discourage wrong in any meaningful way? It comes through having authentic relationships with neighbors and turning that into organized and engaged communities.

Rosa Parks

Nothing illuminates the value of such relationships better than the story of Rosa Parks in her role in the Montgomery Bus Boycott. People often think that she was the first brave soul to defy the custom of allowing whites to sit before African-Americans could be seated on her city’s buses. Nothing could be further from the truth. The difference was that her sets of relationships were so interwoven into her local community that it forced a massive response. Park’s connections spanned socioeconomic circles as she had close friendships from professors to field hands. She held memberships in a dozen local organizations including her church and the local NAACP. She was a volunteer seamstress in poor communities and provided the same for profit in wealthy white circles. When someone with her relational positioning was able to leverage the political organizing ability of MLK and Dr. Ralph Abernathy, the Montgomery Bus Boycott was sparked.

When something happens to Muslims, who can we mobilize to respond? Who becomes angry? Who do we work with in our communities to create policies that reflect our values And what are our internal barriers to such cooperation?

“Whosoever of you sees an evil action, let him change it with his hand; and if he is not able to do so, then with his tongue; and if he is not able to do so, then with his heart—and that is the weakest of faith.” Prophet Muhammad ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him)

Our Predecessors Organized Locally

At some point in time voting became the sum total of political engagement in the minds of many and is now deemed by some as worthless. We quickly forget that the organizations that battled for voting rights were first locally organized to improve communities. SNCC, SNCC, CORE, NAACP, and the Urban League all formed to create change in various ways and the fight for voting rights was a component of these local agendas. So when we’re tempted to believe that voting doesn’t matter, it’s likely due to our lack of engagement in local issues that form the contours of our community life. If you’ve ever heard of Ella Baker or Fannie Lou Hamer (worth researching!), you probably never bought into this type of logic.

One of the many lessons we can pull from this rich history is that we cannot pursue policies, seek alliances, or negotiate a position with political parties (see Ice Cube’s debacle in negotiating with Trump) without first being organized from within. No set of friendships or outside philanthropic support can supplant the need for internal organization. This lack of organized political engagement has weakened Muslims in general but has fatally weakened African-American Muslims as voices within the larger Black community – a voice that gave Islam its first fully accepted and influential place in American society.

Immigrant-based Muslim communities could also benefit from a local approach because despite being several generations in America, their American bonafides are still not set in stone. Concerns about Islamophobia will not change outside of developing authentic relationships with non-Muslims.

This also pushes back against a culture shaped disproportionately by social media algorithms that promote isolation and division for the sake of profit. Our attention to the national news cycle also takes our attention away from local communities where our power is formed. In this type of political malaise, re-engagement in local politics and community relationships can bring us back to important principles that resonate with the values of Islam.

Local politics help shape federal policy

The final word on any law or policy rests with the federal government, but much of what becomes orthodoxy begins with a few concerned citizens in local communities. As with community policing, criminal justice reform, climate sustainability, or any issues that has not caught on, the federal government will often step back to see how a new law plays out at state and local levels. Illinois didn’t wait for Obamacare but has a well-established program to ensure that anyone 18 and younger in Illinois has health insurance through a program called All Kids . Colorado has, in the midst of protests against police brutality, altered their law of Qualified Immunity to make police more accountable. And California has advanced the conversation on reparations  by sanctioning a study to understand how the state could benefit by redressing the descendants of American slavery.

By advancing issues and electing representatives who support the causes we believe in, we insert ourselves into a narrative that would’ve otherwise been forged without us. There’s no shortcut in this process short of rolling up our sleeves to understand our local systems and existing organizations. Moneyed interests are prepare to control the narrative regardless of who the president is and we have to remake this system from the ground up. Our history provides us with a roadmap to do this and it goes far beyond being citizens who only argue over national issues while standing on the sidelines. Remembering our 40 neighbors as advised by the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) is the best place to start.

Some helpful links:

Local Elections

State Legislatures

School Boards

County Prosecutors

Mayors

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Podcast: Imam Connect | Muddasar Ahmed and Omar Usman

Omar Usman

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