Connect with us

#Life

RBI: Reviving Baseball In The Islamic Community

Avatar

Published

on

Ummah Sports

A couple of months ago, I spent a few days in Arizona during Major League Baseball’s annual spring training.

If you’ve never been, spring training is like a month-long live music festival, with baseball replacing bass as the soundtrack. Half of the league’s teams convene in Arizona, the other half gather in Florida, and fans from all over the world descend upon these balmy locales to watch their favorite teams and players prepare for the upcoming season in a series of exhibition games.

I made the trip to Arizona this year to see my favorite baseball team (the Seattle Mariners) and my favorite player (Milwaukee Brewers pitcher Dontrelle Willis, who actually announced his retirement during spring training) in what is becoming something of an annual get-together for some of my family.

Before my wife and I landed at Phoenix International Airport, however, I wasn’t sure what to expect as a Muslim in Arizona. I had my preconceived notions, considering that we were entering a politically “red” state that has a history of controversial anti-immigration legislation and once rescinded Martin Luther King Day. But a quick online search turned up a couple of masjids near our resort, as well as a link to the Arizona Muslim Voice, a community newspaper based in Phoenix. I also found an article from 2011 in which the Arizona Muslim Voice editor speculated that Phoenix’s Muslim population had grown by more than 100,000 in the previous decade.

So while it wasn’t quite Philadelphia or Dearborn, Mich., Phoenix did not appear to be a ghost town for Muslims, either. That was good enough for me.

Baseball + apple pie = America

Baseball + apple pie = America

And over the course of five days at spring training, I saw Muslim sisters admirably wearing headscarves and long black garments in the 80-degree desert heat. I saw Muslim brothers rocking kufis and tell-tale beards with whom I could exchange knowing nods of the head. I met one brother working at the airport whose face lit up at the sight of a fellow Muslim entering his city as a tourist. I saw quite a few Muslim baseball fans.

What I did not see were Muslim baseball players.

For a sport that embraces the label of “America’s pastime,” baseball — especially at its highest level — has not always represented the demographic diversity of the United States. While Major League Baseball earned an “A” grade in its racial hiring practices on the 2014 Racial and Gender Report Card, it had a less admirable “C+” in gender hiring practices. Almost 40 percent of major-league players are racial minorities, thanks to the sport’s strong grip in Latin American and Asian countries, but the number of Black players has been dropping for years and continued to drop in 2014. Only 8.2 percent of the league’s players are Black.

Diversity in baseball, like everything in baseball, comes with a backstory.

Jackie Robinson’s MLB debut in 1947 is canonized as the moment that paved the way for current Black stars like Andrew McCutchen, Jason Heyward and C.C. Sabathia, and MLB has made a point to retroactively adopt the old Negro Leagues into its own historical narrative. (Even though it was MLB’s own racism and discrimination against Blacks that made the Negro Leagues necessary.) In response to the recent downward trend of Black players, MLB invested in a program called Reviving Baseball In Inner Cities (RBI) designed to foster interest in baseball among young athletes whose urban communities often lacked quality playing surfaces and organized youth leagues.

Latino players were allowed to play in the majors before Black players were allowed, and today there is not one MLB organization that does not have at least a handful of Latino stars on its main roster and/or in its developmental system.

The 1990s and early-2000s witnessed the beginning of an influx of MLB players from Asia, headlined by South Koreans like Chan Ho Park and Japanese standouts like Ichiro Suzuki.

And Jewish players have history in pro baseball going back some 150 years, with Hall of Fame talents like Hank Greenberg and Sandy Koufax preceding modern stars like Ryan Braun and Ian Kinsler.

Sam-Khalifa-2

But to the best of anyone’s knowledge, there has been one — and only one — Muslim player in major league history: Sam Khalifa.

The No. 7 overall pick in the 1982 MLB draft, Khalifa played shortstop and second base for the Pittsburgh Pirates for parts of three seasons in the 1980s. Three years after he’d been named Arizona state high school player of the year at Sahuaro H.S. in Tucson, Khalifa made his major-league debut as a 21-year-old. At the time, he was the seventh-youngest player in the majors.

Khalifa was mostly a backup with the Pirates, never appearing in more than 95 games (out of a 162-game schedule) in any of his three MLB seasons. Khalifa had a .219 career batting average, hitting 20 doubles, three triples and two home runs with 37 runs batted in and a .964 fielding percentage.

Khalifa spent most of 1987 and all of 1988-89 in the minor leagues. In the 1990 offseason, still only 26 years old and receiving interest from the San Diego Padres, Khalifa retired from baseball following the assassination of his father, Rashad Khalifa, an Islamic scholar.

Sam Khalifa may have played the same position Jackie Robinson played on the diamond, but he was no Jackie Robinson. And I’m not talking about talent, but historical significance. After Khalifa, there was no flood of Muslim players entering Major League Baseball. There wasn’t even a trickle.

He remains the first and, as far as anyone I’ve talked to can tell, the only Muslim to play in the majors.

There have been no Muslim MLB managers, either. And current Los Angeles Dodgers general manager Farhan Zaidi isn’t just the first and only Muslim GM in MLB history, he’s the first and only Muslim GM in any American major sports league. Chicago Cubs assistant GM Shiraz Rehman is another Muslim in a prominent front-office position.

Why aren’t there more Muslims involved at the highest levels of baseball?

First things first, I don’t think this is at all like the “old days” of MLB, when White management deliberately collaborated to keep Black people entirely out of the game; and even well after Jackie Robinson, maintained unofficial limits on how many Blacks could be on one roster.

There is no ugly history of anti-Muslim attitudes in baseball — certainly nothing close to the vitriol hurled at Blacks and other minorities. Sam Khalifa wasn’t run out of the game. In a 1986 article in Aramco World magazine, he talked about how he was being treated.

“Sure, there’s always some clubhouse ribbing and I’ve been called ‘the shaikh,’ but it’s been in fun,” Khalifa said. “I never felt any prejudice in Arizona or anywhere else. People respect me for what I am and that’s good.”

I don’t think Muslims are being kept out of Major League Baseball today.

I don’t think many Muslims want in.

For one reason or another, baseball has not caught on in the Muslim American community.

Are there socioeconomic issues creating a divide between a sometimes expensive sport and a community that includes many immigrants who live at or below the poverty line?

Is it a matter of scheduling, with baseball suffering due to occupying the same part of the calendar as soccer?

Is there bound to be an awkward fit between the American pastime and a community whose roots are not in America, a community that is often made to feel rejected and unwelcome by many Americans?

Or is there something inherently, religiously un-Islamic about baseball?

Rany Jazayerli is one of today’s most influential Muslim figures in baseball. The full-time dermatologist is a part-time writer for ESPN who co-founded Baseball Prospectus and for years maintained Rany on the Royals, a blog dedicated to his favorite team, the Kansas City Royals.

I asked Jazayerli why baseball is not as popular with Muslim-Americans. Here is his theory:

Baseball, rather than football or basketball, is the sport most identified with traditional American culture, and I’m using “traditional” as a euphemism for “white.” This isn’t because of anything that Major League Baseball is doing per se — there is a long and storied history of African-Americans playing baseball, and while African-American participation has dropped in recent decades, their place has largely been taken by Latin American players. The sport on the field is not dominated by whites — but the fan base for MLB is mainly white, certainly far more so than the fan bases for the NFL and the NBA.

The NFL is so big that it simply dominates all walks of American culture, while the NBA, which is a league populated mostly by African-Americans, has been associated with American “counterculture” — which here I’m defining as simply the culture of minority groups — for decades. The rise in the NBA’s popularity over the years may be connected to the increasing popularity of countercultural entertainment in general.

And here’s the key point: American-born Muslims as a whole have, I believe, embraced American counterculture more than traditional American culture. I’m not saying this is right or wrong; I think it’s actually quite inevitable overall, because most immigrant Muslims to this country are not white, and white America continues to regard non-white immigrants with considerable suspicion. If you are the child of Pakistani parents who didn’t feel comfortable with your parents’ culture growing up in New Jersey, and you didn’t feel comfortable around the white majority in school who made you feel like an outsider growing up, who may have taunted you with racist taunts, then you’re going to start identifying with other ethnic minorities in America. You’re going to listen to hip-hop music, and you’re going to watch basketball. You’re unlikely to watch baseball, and you’re even less likely to watch hockey, and you’re *really* unlikely to listen to country music, which is not only dominated by whites but has legitimate issues with how welcoming it is of minorities in America.

It’s probably not a coincidence, then, that my family is from Syria and I pass as “white” by any reasonable definition of the term. I didn’t look like an outsider to white America growing up, and I never felt like an outsider, and I fell in love with baseball from an early age.

I don’t want to overstate the correlation — there are plenty of brown Muslim Americans who are big baseball fans, and several who work within the game — Adnan Virk hosts ESPN’s Baseball Tonight, and Farhan Zaidi is the GM of the Los Angeles Dodgers. (Disclaimer: both are actually Canadian.) But I also don’t want to ignore something which is pretty obvious: whereas 80 years ago, immigrants to America were usually European, and so could integrate into American society pretty seamlessly if they learned the mainstream culture — which meant baseball — today immigrants to American are not typically white, and so unless they come from cultures which have already embraced baseball, they are likely to gravitate to American sports which are the province of minorities, like basketball.

So in order for baseball to grow in popularity among Muslim Americans in the future, one of two things — preferably both — needs to happen. Major League Baseball can find a way to make inroads among minority communities, which they can start to do by de-emphasizing history and tradition when it comes to marketing the game. MLB is legitimately interested in connecting with the African-American fans that it has lost over the years, and the concerns raised by Chris Rock in this takedown of MLB will get attention from the Commissioner’s Office.

But the other thing that needs to happen is that Muslims in America need to better identify with being American, to accept that they can be fully American without compromising their faith one bit, and to make an active effort to not only integrate with mainstream American society but to be actively engaged with bettering American society, rather than cocooning themselves into their own insular societies. Note that this should be the actual goal regardless of what it has to do with baseball; I think seeing more Muslims become baseball fans would be a product of more active engagement with American society, not the other way around. In the grand scheme of things, it’s not important whether more Muslims become baseball fans. But more Muslims becoming baseball fans is a likely by-product of more Muslims recognizing themselves as fully American, and not sensing any conflict between the two.

The problems facing baseball that Jazayerli and Rock bring up can possibly be fixed by concerted, long-term marketing and community outreach efforts. And even if they work, the results may not be plainly visible for a few years.

Or, baseball could get lucky like some other sports and have that one superstar emerge who Pied-Pipers a legion of young fans to follow in his footsteps.

The NBA became a hit in China on the back of Yao Ming. Boxing’s modern-day popularity among Filipino fans is tied mostly to the rise of Manny Pacquiao. Tiger Woods is viewed as golf’s liaison to Black America, while Danica Patrick has been credited with drawing more female interest in NASCAR.

If one Muslim baseball phenom gets to the major leagues and blows up, that could do more to endear the Muslim community to the sport than however-many millions MLB might be willing to throw into a marketing campaign.

But it’s kind of a chicken-vs.-egg thing, because baseball may not find that Muslim superstar without first doing its share of work to promote the game to Muslims — or less specifically, to counterculture America and young America.

“The first Muslim star is not going to be from a Muslim country,” ESPN’s Adnan Virk, a Muslim of Pakistani descent who grew up in Canada, was quoted in a 2013 article for Fan Graphs. “It’s going to be a guy like me.”

The first Muslim Major League Baseball star will also have to be ready for all that comes with being the Jackie Robinson of Muslim baseball. Although it’s been 30 years since Sam Khalifa played, the next Muslim MLB player will be navigating a whole new world and a whole new America with different attitudes regarding Muslims.

He will have to find his way in the quintessential American sport in an America that has turned his people into a dangerously marginalized minority.

Amaar Abdul-Nasir was born and raised in Seattle, Wash., and received his B.A. in Journalism from Seattle University. A sports writer and editor by trade, Amaar founded UmmahSports.net, which focuses on Muslim athletes and health and fitness in the Muslim community, following his conversion to Islam in 2013.

6 Comments

6 Comments

  1. Avatar

    MY

    May 30, 2015 at 9:16 AM

    Cricket.

    Most Pakistanis and Indian descent population play and administer cricket in US. You will find some fine administrators managing cricket leagues and playing as full time players at the same time. Baseball is just not the game that can replace Cricket for them.

    This probably takes a big demographic of “to-be” Baseball administrators/players though many of us follow Baseball just as fellow Americans do.

  2. Avatar

    June

    May 30, 2015 at 12:47 PM

    Assalamu Alaykum,
    This was fascinating to me as an American revert who has always been a fan of baseball. There are some interesting points made about counterculture, integration, and maintaining faith. I had been thinking about if there were/are/will be any Muslim baseball players. I tell my husband I’ll raise our kids to love baseball (and I do secretly hope one of them wants to become a pro) So I may only be a matter of time.
    On a side note: “If one Muslim baseball phenom gets to the major leagues and blows up…” I was amused by this. I know what you mean and yet… you know… (Unintentional, I’m sure, but amusing nonetheless.)

  3. Avatar

    Hamza 21

    June 4, 2015 at 6:30 PM

    “Khalifa retired from baseball following the assassination of his father, Rashad Khalifa, an Islamic scholar.”

    Rashad Khalifa had a degree in biochemistry not Islamic studies nor Shari’ah. He also, more importantly, proclaimed the Qur’aan was wrong when confronted with evidence his mathematical code of the Qur’an was erroneous.

  4. Pingback: Muslim players to watch this NFL season | Ummah Sports

  5. Pingback: » Muslim Players to Watch This NFL Season

  6. Avatar

    Mark

    August 3, 2016 at 12:52 AM

    Thank you for your research and interesting writing. I am not Muslim, but am a huge baseball fan.your article answered my curiosity about Muslims in baseball. It is interesting the way baseball reflects sociology of the United States. I hope the game becomes fully integrated. America’s national pastime should reflect American demographics.

Leave a Reply

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

#Life

How Grandparents Can Be Of Invaluable Help In A Volatile ‘Me First’ Age

Dr. Muhammad Abdul Bari

Published

on

I grew up in a small rural village of a developing country during the 1950s and 1960s within a wider ‘extended’ family environment amidst many village aunties and uncles. I had a wonderfully happy childhood with enormous freedom but traditional boundaries. Fast forward 30 years, my wife and I raised our four children on our own in cosmopolitan London in the 1980s and 1990s. Although not always easy, we had a wonderful experience to see them grow as adults. Many years and life experiences later, as grandparents, we see how parenting has changed in the current age of confusion and technology domination.

While raising children is ever joyous for parents, external factors such as rapidly changing lifestyles, a breath-taking breakdown of values in modern life, decline of parental authority and the impacts of social media have huge impacts on modern parenting.

Recently, my wife and I decided to undertake the arduous task of looking after our three young grandchildren – a 5½-year old girl and her 2-year old sibling brother from our daughter, plus a 1½-year old girl from our eldest son – while their parents enjoyed a thoroughly deserved week-long holiday abroad. My wife, who works in a nursery, was expertly leading this trial. I made myself fully available to support her. Rather than going through our daily experiences with them for a week, I highlight here a few areas vis a vis raising children in this day and age and the role of grandparents. The weeklong experience of being full time carers brought home with new impetus some universal needs in parenting. I must mention that handling three young grandchildren for a week is not a big deal; it was indeed a sheer joy to be with these boisterous, occasionally mischievous, little kids so dear to us!

  1. Establish a daily routine and be consistent: Both parents are busy now-a-days earning a livelihood and maintaining their family life, especially in this time of austerity. As children grow, and they grow fast, they naturally get used to the daily parental routine, if it is consistent. This is vital for parents’ health as they need respite in their daily grind. For various practical reasons the routine may sometimes be broken, but this should be an exception rather than a norm. After a long working day parents both need their own time and rest before going to sleep. Post-natal depression amongst mums is very common in situations where there is no one to help them or if the relationship between the spouses is facing difficulty and family condition uninspiring.

In our trial case, we had some struggles in putting the kids to sleep in the first couple of nights. We also faced difficulties in the first few mornings when our grandson would wake up at 5.00am and would not go back to sleep, expecting one of us to play with him! His noise was waking up his younger cousin in another room. We divided our tasks and somehow managed this until we got used to a routine towards the end of the week.

  1. Keep children away from screens: Grandparents are generally known for their urge to spoil their grandchildren; they are more relaxed about discipline, preferring to leave that job to the parents. We tried to follow the parents’ existing rules and disciplinary measures as much as possible and build on them. Their parents only allow the children to use screens such as iPads or smartphones as and when deemed necessary. We decided not to allow the kids any exposure to these addictive gadgets at all in the whole week. So, it fell on us to find various ways to keep them busy and engaged – playing, reading, spending time in the garden, going to parks or playgrounds. The basic rule is if parents want their kids to keep away from certain habits they themselves should set an example by not doing them, especially in front of the kids.
  2. Building a loving and trusting relationship: From even before they are born, children need nurture, love, care and a safe environment for their survival and healthy growth. Parenting becomes enjoying and fulfilling when both parents are available and they complement each other’s duties in raising the kids. Mums’ relationship with their children during the traditional weaning period is vital, both for mums and babies. During our trial week we were keenly observing how each of the kids behaved with us. We also observed the evolution of interesting dynamics amongst the three; but that is a different matter. In spite of occasional hiccups with the kids, we felt our relationship was further blossoming with each of them. We made a habit of discussing and evaluating our whole day’s work at night, in order to learn things and plan for a better next day.

A grandparent, however experienced she or he may be, can be there only to lend an extra, and probably the best, pair of hands to the parents in raising good human beings and better citizens of a country. With proper understanding between parents and grandparents and their roles defined, the latter can be real assets in a family – whether they live under the same roof or nearby. Children need attention, appreciation and validation through engagement; grandparents need company and many do crave to be with their own grandchildren. Young grandchildren, with their innate innocence, do even spiritually uplift grandparents in their old age.

Through this mutual need grandparents can transfer life skills and human values by reading with them, or telling them stories or just spending time with the younger ones. On the other hand, in our age of real loneliness amidst illusory social media friends, they get love, respect and even tender support from their grandchildren. No wonder the attachment between grandparents and grandchildren is often so strong!

In modern society, swamped by individualism and other social ills, raising children in an urban setting is indeed overwhelming. We can no longer recreate ‘community parenting’ in the traditional village environment with the maxim “It needs a village to raise a child’, but we can easily create a productive and innovative role for grandparents to bring about similar benefits.

Continue Reading

#Life

Our Struggles – Mental Health And Muslim Communities | The Family and Youth Institute

Avatar

Published

on

mental health

By Elham Saif, Sarrah AbuLughod and Wahida Abaza

Fariha just started her freshman year at university. Overnight, she was separated from her support system of family and friends and thrust into a foreign environment. She was facing many new challenges, including a heavier workload, new friends, student clubs and organizational responsibilities. She was drowning in endless assignments, exams, and meetings.

Fariha never thought much about mental health issues beyond the few “mindfulness” posts that she’d scroll through on her Instagram feed, but recently she was starting to feel out of sorts. She started to feel anxious as a hijab-wearing woman on campus especially after hearing about anti-Muslim incidents on the news. All of the possibilities of what could go wrong played over and over again in her head–and kept her up at night. Everything was beginning to feel overwhelming. She started having trouble getting out of bed in the morning and was losing motivation to complete her assignments. She felt confused and at times, even afraid. 

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, close to 50 million Americans suffered from mental health issues in 2017. One in 5 adults in America is living with a mental health illness at this very moment. American Muslims are not an exception to these statistics. According to different studies, like Fariha, 15-25% of American Muslims report suffering from anxiety disorders and 9-30% report mood disorders. Many of these mental health issues in the Muslim population go unaddressed and unresolved because of lack of knowledge, stigma and shame experienced in many Muslim households and communities. 

When these issues go unaddressed, people report that the pain and suffering they experience rises and that overall their problems tend to get worse. Sadly, their struggles can snowball into additional illnesses that were not present before, such as self-harm or addiction. According to the research, mental illnesses such as depression, anxiety, and bipolar disorder are sometimes not considered to be “real” illnesses. Community members often see mental illness as a sign of weakness, a mark of poor faith, or something that doesn’t affect Muslims. They may also see it either as a “test from God” or sometimes as possession by evil spirits. Even when there is an awareness, many of these illnesses and issues are culturally stigmatized as shameful and kept hidden within the person or family. People may be concerned about the reputation of their family or their marital prospects should a psychiatric diagnosis be disclosed. 

The irony is that Islam ought to be more of a protective factor given how intertwined Islamic history is with the fields of psychiatry and psychology. The contribution of Islamic scholarship to the field of psychology is documented in our history and legacy from health promotion in the Quran and Sunnah, to early scholarly diagnosis, treatment, and intervention. Alaa Mohammad, FYI researcher and co-author of the chapter “Mental Health in the Islamic Golden Era: The Historical Roots of Modern Psychiatry” in Islamophobia and Psychiatry points out that,

“there was a lot of focus on concepts like ‘sanity’ and the significance of mental capacity as well as the general mental/emotional state in many of the early Islamic texts especially in regards to Islamic rules and law.”

Early Islamic scholars described the “cognitive components of depression and sadness, anxiety and fear, obsessions, and anger in detail and suggested a variety of therapies and treatments.” Learning more about this rich history and pulling from these stories in the Prophet’s (SAW) seerah is a key step towards opening the way for people to get the help they need and learning how to support one another. 

Fariha knows that she needs help. She was considering seeing one of the mental health workers on campus, but she’s afraid of what her parents would say if they found out she shared so much with a stranger, especially one that is not a Muslim.

What can parents do?

Research has found that in the face of rising Islamophobia, supportive parenting serves as a protective factor and helps strengthen young Muslims’ sense of identity while unsupportive parents who don’t help their children navigate their experiences end up weakening their identity, which then increases their chances of participating in more risky behavior. 

When Fariha finally shared her fears and anxieties with her parents, she was surprised and relieved to hear that they took her seriously. They listened to her and she didn’t feel like they were ashamed of her, only concerned for her well being. They were eager to find her the help she needed to feel like herself again. 

As Muslims, we need to shift our mindset around mental illness and the effects of Islamophobia. Like Fariha’s parents, it is imperative that we listen carefully and look more deeply at the issues facing our youth. It is through this openness that we can reduce the stigma and encourage more people to seek help. 

The Family and Youth Institute recently released an infographic that talks about some of the struggles facing our American Muslim communities. They teamed up with Islamic Relief USA to get this infographic printed as a poster and will be sending them to over 500 masajid/community centers around the United States in the coming months. 

What can you do to help?

  • Reduce the stigma by sharing this article and infographic and starting a conversation with your friends and family members. The more we talk about it, the more we normalize and destigmatize mental illness and move towards mental health. 
  • Organize a community conversation around the issue of mental health. Invite a mental health specialist to come speak to your mosque youth group or parent group. 
  • Seek therapy when needed. Connect with SEEMA and the Institute of Muslim Mental Health for a list of Muslim therapists. If you are seeing a clinician who is not Muslim, share this book Counseling Muslims: Handbook of Mental Health Issues and Interventions with them to give them a better sense of the specific religious and cultural needs of their Muslim clients. 
  • Educate yourself – There is a plethora of information out there about mental wellness and wellbeing. For help navigating through it all, sign up for The FYI’s daily article share to receive vetted infographics, articles and videos on this topic. Mental health affects our whole life. Whether you are struggling with bullying, helping a loved one with depression, living with and caring for an elder or wanting to build the best environment for your new baby, we have a resource for you! 

These steps are just small ways we can begin to shift the conversation away from shame and stigma and towards help and healing. Mental illness and mental health issues can be scary, but they do not need to be faced alone and in isolation. As the Prophet Muhammad ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him)said, “The parable of the believers in their affection, mercy, and compassion for each other is that of a body. When any limb aches, the whole body reacts with sleeplessness and fever.” Together, we can fight the existing stigma and misconceptions, provide support, educate the community and advocate for our brothers and sisters suffering with mental illness and their families. 

Sources:

Aftab A., & Khandai, C. (2018). Mental Health Facts for Muslim Americans. APA Division of Diversity and Health Equity, Washington, DC. 

Basit A, & Hamid M. (2006). Mental health issues of Muslim Americans. The Journal of Islamic Medical Association of North America, 42(3), 106-110.

Ciftci A., Jones N., & Corrigan, P.W. (2013) Mental health stigma in the Muslim community. Journal of Muslim Mental Health, 7(1), 17-32.

Hodge, D.R., Zidan, T. & Husain, A. (2016). Depression among Muslims in the United States: Examining the role of discrimination and spirituality as risk and protective factors. Social Work, 61(1), 45-52.

Zong, X., Balkaya, M., Tahseen, M., & Cheah, C.S.L. (2018). Muslim-American Adolescents’ Identities Mediate the Association between Islamophobia and Adjustment: The Moderating Role of Religious Socialization. Poster session presented at the biennial meeting of the International Society for the Study of Behavioural Development, Queensland, Australia. 

Continue Reading

Featured Home

Loving Muslim Marriage | Is it Haraam to Talk About Sex?

Saba Syed (Umm Reem)

Published

on

Loving Muslim Marriage

Female sexual nature and female sexual desires are often misunderstood, especially among Muslims. There are some classes and seminars by Muslim speakers that offer advice to Muslim couples about intimacy but unfortunately, the advice is not exactly aligned with correct female sexual nature.

So we decided to come together to clarify these misunderstandings and explain the sexual nature of women and their desires, so we can help build healthy intimacy within Muslim marriages leading to happier Muslim marriages.

This is going to be a series of videos that we will release every week, inshaAllah.

What should be expected out of these videos?

Each video will address a specific myth or misconception about either female sexuality, or Muslim marriage to help men better understand women. We will also explore male sexuality and other subjects.

We hope

– to help better quality marriage
– to help couples- both men and women- get a more satisfying intimate life
– to help women navigate intimate life in a manner where they are fulfilled, paving the way for involvement and desiring of intimacy; breaking the cycle of unsatisfying intimate lives for both husband and wife

Disclaimer:
Please keep in mind that these videos are for people with normal sexual desires — they are not meant to address asexuality.

The content of these videos is a mean to provide marital advice based on mainstream orthodoxy as well as best practices and relationships.

Some experts joined us in these videos to offer their expertise from an Islamic and professional perspective:

Shaikh AbdulNasir Jangda: He was born and raised in Dallas, Texas and at the age of 10 began the road to knowledge by moving to Karachi, Pakistan, and memorizing the entire Qur’an in less than one year. After graduating from high school, he continued his studies abroad at the renowned Jamia Binoria and graduated from its demanding seven-year program in 2002 at the top of his class with numerous licenses to teach in various Islamic Sciences. Along with the Alim Course he concurrently completed a B.A. and M.A. in Arabic from Karachi University. He also obtained a Masters in Islamic Studies from the University of Sindh. He taught Arabic at the University of Texas at Arlington from 2005 to 2007. He served as the Imam at the Colleyville Masjid in the Dallas area for three years. He is a founding member and chairman of Mansfield Islamic Center.

He is the founder of Qalam Institute and he has served as an instructor and curriculum advisor to various Islamic schools. His latest projects include Quran Intensive (a summer program focusing on Arabic grammar and Tafsir), Quranic analysis lectures, Khateeb Training, chronicling of the Prophetic Biography, and personally mentoring and teaching his students at the Qalam Seminary.

In these videos, Sh. Jangda helped present the Islamic rulings and corrections of various misconceptions regarding intimacy and female sexuality.

Dr. Basheer Ahmed: He is a Board Certified Psychiatrist with 18 years of teaching experience at various medical schools. He started off his career by teaching at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York as a Psychiatrist in 1971. Then he started his own private practice in 1984 till the present time. Meanwhile, he continued to teach at various universities around the U.S.
He is also the Chairman of MCC Human Services in North Texas.

In these videos, Dr. Basheer explained several psychological conditions that women may suffer through when they are sexually dissatisfied in a marriage.

Zeba Khan: She is the Director of Development for MuslimMatters.org, as well as a writer, speaker, and disability awareness advocate.

She helped address the uncomfortable myths and misconceptions throughout these videos and helped provide the correct perspective of female and marital intimacy for Muslim couples to enjoy a better marriage.

Usman Mughni: He is a Marriage & Family Therapist and holds a Master’s of Science degree
Northern Illinois University and a B.S. in Psychology from the University of Maryland, along with a degree in diagnostic medical imaging. He worked as a therapist at Alexian Brothers Behavioral Health Hospital in the Center for Addiction Medicine. Usman has experience providing counseling to individuals, couples, and families at Northern Illinois University’s Family Therapy Clinic along with experience working with individuals, couples, and families struggling with chemical dependency and mental health diagnoses and running psychoeducational group therapy at Centegra Specialty Hospital’s partial hospitalization and intensive outpatient programs.

Since Usman enjoys working with couples to help bring tranquility back into the marriage and providing premarital counseling to couples who hope to have a successful marriage at a time when divorce seems to be on the rise, he especially joined us in this series to offer his expertise. He highlighted the most common intimacy issues in Muslim marriages that he has observed throughout the years of his experience as a therapist. His insights and knowledge has helped us clarify many misconceptions not only regarding female sexual nature but also about men and marital intimacy.

Ustadha Saba Syed: She has a BA degree in Islamic Studies. She studied Arabic Language and Literature at Qatar University and at the Cairo Institute in Egypt. She also received her Ijaazah in Quranic Hafs recitation in Egypt from Shaikh Muhammad al-Hamazawi.

She’s been passionately working towards empowering Muslim women through the correct and untainted teachings of Islam. She is a pastoral counselor for marriage, family, women and youth issues. She has hosted several Islamic lectures and weekly halaqas in different communities all over U.S and overseas. SHe also hosted special workshops regarding parenting, Islamic sex-ed, female sexuality, and marital intimacy.

She took the initiative of putting together these videos because through her pastoral counseling experience she realized that there are many marital intimacy problems in Muslim marriages, mainly due to the misunderstandings and misconceptions regarding female sexuality and female sexual nature.

Hence, with the speakers above, and with these videos we hope to clarify and explain as many myths and misconceptions that we believe have become a hindrance to happiness and success in Muslim marriages. We welcome your comments and suggestions in order to make this series more successful.

Continue Reading

Trending