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Your Black Muslim Friends Are Not Okay, America’s Knee Is On Their Neck

Your Black Muslim friends are not okay. Your Black Muslim relatives are not okay. Your Black Muslim coworkers are not okay. Your Black Muslim congregants are not okay. When we are witness to yet another modern-day lynching, this time with a knee instead of a noose, we are not going to be okay.

Being a Black American Muslim in non-Black Muslim spaces is to constantly be reminded of your otherness, especially at times of great upheaval in this country. 

Being a Black American Muslim amongst large populations of immigrant Muslims is a living, breathing, testament to the Qur’anic promise that Allah will make some of us a trial for others of us. Though those verses were revealed in the context of war, they are just as true in other contexts as well. 

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Where are the unapologetically loud, unified voices of consistent protest from the non-Black scholars, imams, and shuyukh of America? With the exception of a notable few, why aren’t there more of those voices unflinchingly condemning police aggression, unwaveringly supporting the victims of this oppression, and steadfastly working with Black Americans to bring about change? Some of the most prominent voices of Muslim America have either been silent, or have only shared a few social media posts here and there, addressing the trauma Black America is constantly reliving before promptly returning to their regularly scheduled programming, as if their job as Muslim leaders is complete. To witness this disconnect between the purveyors of Islamic knowledge, and the ethos at the heart of Islam is jarring. It is enraging. It is disheartening. It is the ongoing reality of Black Muslims in America. 

To be a Black Muslim in America is to have the first mass communication from your suburban mosque after the death of George Floyd and the righteous anger that has spilled into the streets of America be a forwarded message from a home owner’s association warning mostly white, and white-adjacent residents to go into their homes, lock their doors, and be on the lookout for rioters and looters supposedly on their way from one of the few nearby towns with large Black populations. To be a Black Muslim in America is to have the second mass communication from your suburban mosque be more of the same. To be a Black Muslim in America is to have the third communication from your suburban mosque on this subject finally be a condemnation of the senseless killing of another Black man at the hands of the state, along with condemnation of looters and rioters. Even in our death, we cannot simply be mourned and fought for without others of us being admonished for perceived wrongdoing. To be a Black Muslim in America is to continuously be told in a myriad of overt and subtle ways that “you may be with us, but you are not of us.” These reminders are not only soul-crushing, they are iman-stealing; They are death by a thousand cuts. 

So to my non-Black Muslim brothers and sisters, the ones who don’t seem to realize that these issues should be front and center for all of our communities, have you reflected on the fact that the story that Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) calls the best of stories, is the story of a boy, stolen from his land to be transported and sold into slavery in a foreign land? A land where his enslavement means he has to endure all of the indignities inherent in that position, including the attempt at sexual violence that so many of the world’s enslaved have endured. A boy who becomes a man, unjustly imprisoned and forgotten by all but his Lord and his God-fearing father. A man, who when finally freed and given a chance by the elite of his society, is able to save that society from utter ruin. Have you considered that Allah in His All-Knowing Wisdom and Mercy, knew that that story would hit differently for those of us who are actual descendants of people ripped from their lands and forced into slavery?

Have you reflected on the fact that the Qur’an revisits the story of Musa 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him), over and over and over again, more frequently than any other Prophet? A story about a Prophet, born and raised in Africa, sent to literally speak truth to power, and to break the chains of oppression shackling a community of people who had been unjustly enslaved, demeaned, debased, and whose sons were routinely executed by the State for no other reason than fear for more than 400 years!

How are you reciting this Book daily but failing to make these connections?

I am no exegete of the Qur’an, but it has become clear to me that my people, Black people, are Abdullah ibn Umm-Maktum, and this ummah, by and large, is in a constant state of turning away. Turning away from us, to focus on America’s Utbah ibn Rabiahs, Ummayah ibn Khalafs, and Abu Jahls. If you don’t realize that Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) placed that scene in His eternal book as a warning and guide for all Muslim leaders to come, then something essential is missing in your process of reflection, and if you don’t ask yourself about it in this life, Allah will surely ask you about it in the next.

Why do you think Allah saw fit to include story after story of Prophets preaching to their societies, just to have the power-players of their societies reject their messages while the first and most numerous of their converts were ALWAYS from amongst the most rejected of their societies? How much clearer can Allah’s signs be before America’s Muslims wake up and act? What are your readings of Qur’an for, how are they benefitting you, your family, and your society, if you fail to see its modern equivalents when they are tweeted and broadcast straight into your homes? Who are the most rejected of your society, and how are you treating them, if you’re bothering to deal with them at all? There are only two paths in these fights, the Prophetic and the Pharaonic. I guarantee you, you’re on a path. For the sake of your dunya and your akhirah, you need to figure out which one. 

For as long as I’ve been alive, the people turning to Islam in America at the fastest rate, and in the largest numbers are my people. Black people. But for America’s Muslim elite, like the Quraysh elite of the Prophet’s time, and the elite of every Prophet before him, we are not good enough. We are too poor. Our place in society is too low. Our power (in this dunya) is non-existent. And Shaytan’s creed— “Ana khairan minhu [I am better than him]” —is stamped so deep in so many of your hearts that you don’t know where that persistently toxic superiority complex ends and your God-given fitra begins. 

In the past few weeks, I have found myself repeatedly thanking Allah that I am the daughter of converts, but not a convert myself. Not at all because there is anything to be despised in being a convert. In fact, anyone who has undertaken even the most rudimentary examination of our faith has to see that our deen was revealed to a community of converts, sustained by a community of converts, and spread by a community of converts. Converts are truly the best amongst us, if for no other reason than the fact that every single one of them have absolute knowledge of a firm date in their lives on which their Lord wiped every, single, solitary sin out of their book of deeds. Who amongst the rest of the Muslim ummah can say the same with certainty? 

No, my prayer of thanks for not being a convert was the sinking realization that I don’t think I could have continued to survive and thrive in the modern ummah of the Prophet [aw] if I were doing this on my own. It would be so much easier to return to what I’d known before Islam for no other reason than to find the genuine love, support, care, and camaraderie we find amongst our closest family and friends. Because when your adopted community not only shows you none of that, but consistently, in big and little ways, shows you their disdain, or their indifference, the familiarity of the dark becomes more comforting than the hollowness of the light. 

To my Black Muslim brothers and sisters, those of you who are new to Islam and those of you who are oldheads, the young of us and the old of us, the male of us and the female of us, you are not alone even though depending on what community of Muslims you worship amongst you might feel like it. If no one else is feeling your pain, to the extent that you are feeling this pain, the rest of us are. If no one else is hearing your cries, the rest of us are. If no one else seems to see what’s happened, what’s happening, and what will happen for the personal tragedies that they are for you, the rest of us do. Even if we’re not together in physical community, we are out here, and we are your community too. We are hurting together. We are struggling together. 

For some of you your community’s response, or lack thereof, will be the last straw. You will want to separate yourself from people who don’t see you, or your pain. The people for who your Islam will never be good enough, for whom you will never be good enough. I feel you. Take whatever time and space you need, but please hold on to Allah; He is always near. He is with you whether you’re in the streets, in the boardroom, in the workplace, in the classroom or at home. He’s with you when you’re the victim of microaggressions and outright aggression. He hears you, and in His infinite Mercy He has promised to answer the call of the oppressed. Not the Muslim oppressed, or the Arab oppressed, or the South East Asian oppressed, but ALL of the oppressed, regardless of religion, race, ethnicity or gender. Our God has got us even when the people who claim Him do not. 

Know that He hears us, and He’s with us, so hold tight to Him, His messengers, and His Book. The Qur’an is speaking to us, our condition, our history, our present, and our future. Mine it for its gems. Use it for its support. Take comfort in its promises. We do matter, to each other, and to Allah if to no one else. Our lives matter, and our deaths matter. 

So while you struggle to free us, whether you’re in the streets or on your prayer rug, keep praying for us. We aren’t just the children of Adam, we are the Adams of our time. The ones made of black clay, living in a world of arrogant beings who think that they are better than us for the most inconsequential and ephemeral reasons. May we be gifted the strength of Adam, the wisdom of Adam, the faith of Adam, the humility of Adam, the consistency of Adam, and the reward of Adam. Ameen.

Pray for the Yusufs of our time; the ones who are being locked away as the cameras roll, and the ones who are already sitting in dank cells throughout the country, calling on their Lord. The ones who were recently released or are soon to be released. The ones who are now desperately searching for the community of Believers who will not only help them stay firmly on the siratal-mustaqim, but give them the support they need to allow them to ascend in their societies, to the benefit of their societies, the way that Prophet Yusuf 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him) was blessed to ascend in his. May they be given the depth of faith of Yusuf, the mental fortitude of Yusuf, the patience of Yusuf, the wisdom of Yusuf, and the reward of Yusuf. Ameen.

Pray for the Musas of our time. The ones who may have made mistakes in their past and have good reason to fear death at the hands of the state, but call on their Lord, ask for His assistance, grab their brothers and sisters, and get to work, knowing that whatever gets thrown at them, He’s got them. May they always speak truth to power as Musa 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him) did. May they be given the knowledge of self and knowledge of community that Musa had. May they be given the patience of Musa, the resilience of Musa, the bravery of Musa, the conviction of Musa, and the reward of Musa. Ameen.

Pray for the followers of Muhammad, Peace and Blessings be upon him. All of us. May we be given insight into the Qur’an and the ability to see that it is a guidebook not just for our inner lives, but for the lived experiences of all of those we live amongst. May we learn what enjoining the good and forbidding the evil looks like in an American context. May we come to understand that these things are not limited to the good and evil of our day to day lives, but the good and evil perpetrated by the society we live in as well. May we be guided towards upright action that allows us to roll up our sleeves and get to work continuing the legacy of the Prophets in speaking truth to oppressors and rooting out oppression, wherever it is found, and if we don’t know where to find it, may we be blessed with the humility to turn to the leadership of those who do. May we reflect the status of the Beloved as a Mercy to this world in our every word, our every post, and our every action. Ameen. 

Pray for our people. ALL of our people. Not just the ones who have found Islam, but the ones who may never get the chance to because they’re too busy trying to survive America’s knees on their necks.

Ameen

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

Nikia Marie Bilal is an African American Muslimah, born and raised on the south side of Chicago. She earned her B.A. in Communications from Loyola University Chicago and her J.D. at DePaul University College of Law. A married mother of five children, Nikia currently resides in the northern suburbs of Chicago where she homeschools two of her children.

9 Comments

9 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Shamis

    June 4, 2020 at 12:27 AM

    Ameen. Ameen. Ameen. Thank you so much for taking the time to write this beautiful article and may Allah reward you for all your efforts. As a Black Muslimah i truly felt seen reading this and am so thankful for all of the reminders to always hold Allah in our hearts because he is the only one who will always be there for us, listen to our pleas, and respond. Thank you for inspiring me to read the Quran more, and understand the stories Allah has written as a guide for us. Wallahi all the answers I am looking for, we are looking for are there for us. Thank you for reminding me that we are reflected in these stories and through reading and understanding them will we be able to truly transform. May we become Muslims worthy of standing amongst our Prophets who fought for justice and freedom on the day of judgement and may we follow in their footsteps in this life. May our oppressors fall, may white supremacy fall, may all perpetrators of injustice fall. May they face their doom on the Day of Judgemnet. Ameen. Indeed I am not okay right now, but Allah has got me, thank you for this reminder and thank you for this article <3

    • Avatar

      Nikia Marie Bilal

      June 4, 2020 at 7:07 AM

      Ameen! ❤️

  2. Avatar

    Osman Umarji

    June 4, 2020 at 1:10 AM

    JazakumAllahu khair for this wonderful piece.

    • Avatar

      Nikia Marie Bilal

      June 4, 2020 at 8:46 AM

      Wa iyyakum!

  3. Avatar

    Khadija

    June 4, 2020 at 1:09 PM

    I am so sorry. I pray Allah (swt) expunge our hearts from all evil and make us better muslim following his religion with clear conviction.

    • Avatar

      Nikia Marie Bilal

      June 5, 2020 at 4:56 PM

      Ameen, thumma, Ameen! JazakAllah khair, May Allah lead us all to the best of Prophetic practices.

  4. Avatar

    Tahira Matin

    June 4, 2020 at 11:00 PM

    Thank you for writing this. This piece speaks to me and for me, and captures much of what I’ve been feeling lately.

    • Avatar

      Nikia Marie Bilal

      June 5, 2020 at 4:54 PM

      Alhamdulillah, May Allah make it easier for you and for all of us!

  5. Avatar

    Nikia Marie Bilal

    June 5, 2020 at 4:55 PM

    Salaam!

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#Society

Shaykh Seraj Hendricks: An Obituary

This article was originally published at Al-Madinah Institute.

 

An internationally recognised Islamic scholar, who saw spirituality, justice, and knowledge as integral to an authentic religious existence.

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Shaykh Seraj Hendricks, who passed away on the 9th of July 2020 at the age of 64, was a scholar of international repute, able to communicate and engage on the level of state leaders, religious scholars and the broader public. As a scion of one of the most prominent Islamic institutions in South Africa and internationally, who also spent a decade studying at the hands of the most prominent of Makkan scholars, he not only inherited a grand bequest, but expanded that legacy’s impact worldwide. In particular, he upheld a normative understanding of Islam, embedded in a tradition stretching back more than a millennium – but deeply cognisant of the needs of the age, including the need to strive to make the world a better place.

Shaykh Seraj Hendricks was a high school English teacher between 1980 and 1982 in Cape Town before leaving for Saudi Arabia in 1983 to study at the Umm al-Qura University in Makka. Before this, he spent many years studying particularly at the feet of his illustrious uncle, the late Shaykh Mahdi Hendricks – erstwhile Life President of the Muslim Judicial Council and widely regarded as one of the foremost scholars of Islam in southern Africa – as well as his father, Imam Hassan Hendricks.

Shaykh Seraj Hendricks studied the Islamic sciences for more than a decade in the holy city of Makka, spending three years at the Arabic Language Institute in Makka studying Arabic and related subjects, before being accepted for the BA (Hons) Islamic Law degree. He specialised in fiqh and usul al-fiqh in the Faculty of Shariʿa of Umm al-Qura University and graduated in 1992. Shaykh Seraj took ijazat from both the late Sayyid Ahmad Mashur al-Haddad and Sayyid ʿAbd al-Qadir b. Ahmad al-Saqqaf, as well as his extensive time spent with the likes of Shaykh Hasan Mashhat and others. These scholars are all known as some of the pre-eminent ‘ulama of the ummah in the 20th century, worldwide.

Additionally, he obtained a full ijaza in the religious sciences from his primary teacher, the muḥaddith of the Hijaz, the distinguished al-Sayyid Muhammad b. ʿAlawi al-Maliki, master of the Ṭarīqa ʿUlamaʿ Makka – the (sufi) path of the Makkan scholars. Together with his brother, the esteemed Shaykh Ahmad Hendricks, Shaykh Seraj and I wrote a book on this approach to Sufism entitled, “A Sublime Way: the Sufi Path of the Sages of Makka”. Alongside his brother, he became the representative (khalifa) of the aforementioned muhaddith of the Hijaz.

Further to his religious education, Shaykh Seraj was also actively engaged in the anti-apartheid struggle in South Africa during the 80’s and early 90’s, alongside the likes of figures like Ambassador Ebrahim Rasool, comrade of Nelson Mandela, and the renowned journalist, Shafiq Morton. His commitments to furthering justice meant insistence on expressing constant opposition to injustice, while fiercely maintaining the independence of the institution and community he pledged himself to his entire life. At a time when different forces in Muslim communities worldwide try to instrumentalise religious figures for partisan political gain, Shaykh Seraj showed another, arguably far more Prophetic, model.

The shaykh also was keenly supportive of the rights of women, whom he saw as important to empower and cultivate as religious figures themselves. His students, of which there were many thousands over the years, included many women at various levels of expertise. I know it was his wish that they would rise to higher and higher levels, and he took a great deal of interest in trying to train them accordingly, aware that many unnecessary obstacles stood in their way.

After his return to Cape Town he received an MA (Cum Laude) for his dissertation: “Tasawwuf (Sufism) – Its Role and Impact on the Culture of Cape Islam” from the University of South Africa (UNISA), which is currently being prepared for publication as a book. He translated works of Imam al-Ghazali, and summarised parts of the Revival of the Religious Sciences (Ihyaʾ ʿUlum al-Din), most notably in the Travelling Light series, together with Shaykhs ʿAbdal Hakim Murad and Yahya Rhodus.

Some of his previous positions included being the head of the Muslim Judicial Council’s Fatwa Committee (which often led to him being described as the ‘Mufti of Cape Town’), lecturer in fiqh at the Islamic College of Southern Africa (ICOSA), and lecturer in the Study of Islam at the University of Johannesburg (UJ). He was a member of the Stanlib Shariʿa Board, chief arbitrator (Hakim) of the Crescent Observer’s Society, and was listed consecutively in the Muslim500 from 2009 to 2020. He was also appointed Dean of the Madina Institute in South Africa, a recognised institution of higher learning in South Africa and part of the world Madina Institute seminaries led by Shaykh Dr Muhammad Ninowy. Shaykh Seraj was also appointed as professor at the International Peace University of South Africa, holding the Maqasid Chair for Graduate Studies.

Apart from fiqh and usul al-fiqh, some of Shaykh Seraj’s primary interests are in Sufism, Islamic civilisation studies, interfaith matters, gender studies, socio-political issues and related ideas of pluralism and identity. He lectured and presented papers in many countries, sharing platforms with his contemporaries. Shaykh Seraj taught a variety of Islamic-related subjects at Azzawia Institute in Cape Town, where he was its resident Shaykh, together with his brother Shaykh Ahmad Hendricks. His classes showed an encyclopaedic knowledge that was rooted in the tradition, while completely conversant with the modern age.

But beyond his classes, he was a pastoral figure to many – a community made of thousands – whom he gave himself completely to, in service of the religion, and counselling them as a khidma (service), with mahabba (love), in accordance with the Prophetic model. Many urged him to restrain himself in this way, fearing for his health, which suffered a great deal in his final years as a result – but he saw it as his duty.

The Shaykh was an international figure, a teacher to thousands, and an adviser to multitudes. Many today ask the question as to why ‘ulama truly matter, seeing as it seems so many of them can be compromised by different forces in pursuit of injustice, rigidness and petty partisanship. Such a question will not be asked by those who knew Shaykh Seraj, for in him they saw a concern for spirituality, not paltry political gain, and a commitment to justice and wisdom, not oppression or slogans. In him, many saw, and will continue to see hope for an Islamic commitment to scholarship that seeks to make the world a better place, rising to the challenge of maintaining their values of mercy and compassion, and exiting the world in dignity.

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#Current Affairs

Oped: The Treachery Of Spreading Bosnia Genocide Denial In The Muslim Community

The expanding train of the Srebrenica genocide deniers includes the Nobel laureate Peter Handke, an academic Noam Chomsky, the Serbian Prime Minister Ana Brnabić, as well as almost all Serbian politicians in Serbia and Bosnia-Herzegovina. One name in this group weirdly stands out: “Sheikh” Imran Hosein. A traditionally trained Muslim cleric from Trinidad and Tobago, Hosein has carved his niche mostly with highly speculative interpretations of Islamic apocalyptic texts. He has a global following with more than 200 hundred thousand subscribers to his YouTube channel, and his videos are viewed by hundreds of thousands. He has written tens of books in English, some of which had been translated into major world languages. His denial of the Srebrenica genocide may seem outlandish, coming from a Muslim scholar, but a close inspection of his works reveals ideas that are as disturbing as they are misleading.

Much of Hosain’s output centers around interpreting the apocalyptic texts from the Qur’an and Sunnah on the “end of times” (akhir al-zaman). As in other major religious traditions, these texts are highly allegorical in nature and nobody can claim with certainty their true meaning – nobody, except Imran Hosein. He habitually dismisses those who disagree with his unwarranted conclusions by accusing them of not thinking properly. A Scottish Muslim scholar, Dr. Sohaib Saeed, also wrote about this tendency.

In his interpretations, the Dajjal (“anti-Christ”) is American-Zionist alliance (the West or the NATO), the Ottomans were oppressors of the Orthodox Christians who are, in turn, rightfully hating Islam and Muslims, Sultan Mehmed Fatih was acting on “satanic design” when he conquered Constantinople, the terrorist attacks of 9/11 were a false flag operation carried out by the Mossad and its allies, and – yes! – the genocide did not take place in Srebrenica. Such conspiratorial thinking is clearly wrong but is particularly dangerous when dressed in the garb of religious certainty. 

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Hosain frequently presents his opinions as the “Islamic” view of things. His methodology consists of mixing widely accepted Muslim beliefs with his own stretched interpretations. The wider audience may not be as well versed in Islamic logic of interpretation so they may not be able to distinguish between legitimate Muslim beliefs and Hosain’s own warped imagination. In one of his fantastic interpretations, which has much in common with the Christian apocalypticism, the Great War that is nuclear in nature is coming and the Muslims need to align with Russia against the American-Zionist alliance. He sees the struggle in Syria as part of a wider apocalyptic unfolding in which Assad and Putin are playing a positive role. He stretches the Qur’anic verses and Prophetic sayings to read into them fanciful and extravagant interpretations that are not supported by any established Islamic authority.

Hosain does not deny that a terrible massacre happened in Srebrenica. He, however, denies it was a genocide, contradicting thus numerous legal verdicts by international courts and tribunals. Established by the United Nations’ Security Council, the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) delivered a verdict of genocide in 2001 in the case of the Bosnian Serb General Radislav Krstić. The International Court of Justice (ICJ) in the Hague confirmed, in 2007, that genocide took place in Srebrenica. In 2010, two more Bosnian Serb officers were found guilty of committing genocide in Bosnia. The butcher of Srebrenica, Ratko Mladić, was found guilty of genocide in 2017.

In spite of this, and displaying his ignorance on nature and definition of genocide, Hosain stated in an interview with the Serbian media, “Srebrenica was not a genocide. That would mean the whole Serbian people wanted to destroy the whole Muslim people. That never happened.” In a meandering and offensive video “message to Bosnian Muslims” in which he frequently digressed to talking about the end of times, Hosain explained that Srebrenica was not a genocide and that Muslims of Bosnia needed to form an alliance with the Orthodox Serbs. He is oblivious to the fact that the problems in Bosnia and Herzegovina and in the former Yugoslavia stem not from the Bosniaks’ purported unwillingness to form an alliance with the Serbs, but from the aggressive Greater Serbia ideology which had caused misery and destruction in Bosnia, Slovenia, Croatia, and Kosovo. 

Hosein’s views are, of course, welcome in Serbia and in Republika Srpska (Serb-dominated entity within Bosnia), where almost all politicians habitually deny that genocide took place in Srebrenica. He had been interviewed multiple times on Serbian television, where he spewed his views of the Ottoman occupation and crimes against the Serbs, the need to form an alliance between Muslims and Russia, and that Srebrenica was not a genocide. His website contains only one entry on Srebrenica: a long “exposé” that claims no genocide took place in Srebrenica. Authored by two Serbs, Stefan Karganović and Aleksandar Pavić, the special report is a hodge-podge of conspiracy theories, anti-globalization and anti-West views. Karganović, who received more than a million dollars over a six year period from the government of the Bosnian Serb-led Republika Srpska for lobbying efforts in Washington, was recently convicted by the Basic Court in Banja Luka on tax evasion and defamation. The Court issued a warrant for Karganović’s arrest but he is still on the loose. 

True conspirators of the Srebrenica killings, according to Hosain, are not the Serbian political and military leaders, and soldiers who executed Srebrenica’s Muslims. The conspirators are unnamed but it does not take much to understand that he believes that the massacres were ultimately orchestrated by the West, CIA, and NATO. Hosain even stated on the Serbian TV that if people who knew the truth were to come forward they would be executed to hide what really happened. Such opinions are bound to add to an already unbearable pain that many survivors of the Srebrenica genocide are experiencing. It is even more painful when Bosniak victims – who were killed because they were Muslims – are being belittled by an “Islamic” scholar who seems to be more interested in giving comfort to those who actually perpetrated the heinous crime of genocide than in recognizing the victims’ pain. These views are, of course, welcome in Serbia, Russia, and Greece.

It is not difficult to see why Hosain’s views would be popular in today’s day and age where misinformation and fake news are propagated even by the world leaders who should know better. A conspiratorial mindset, mistrust of established facts, undermining of international institutions – these are all hallmarks of the post-truth age. In another time, Imran Hosain would be easily exposed for what he truly is: a charlatan who claims religious expertise. Today, however, his opinions are amplified by social media and by the people who already question science and established facts. For these reasons, he needs to be unmasked to safeguard the very religious foundations which he claims to uphold but ultimately undermines. 

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#Life

A Festival Amidst a Pandemic: How to Give Your Kids an Eid ul-Adha to Remember

Eid ul-Adha is less than 3 weeks away!  This year, more than ever, we want to welcome Eid ul-Adha with a full heart and spirit, insha’Allah, despite the circumstances we are in with the global pandemic.

If you follow me on social media, you probably know that my husband and I host an open house brunch for Eid ul-Adha, welcoming over 125 guests into our home. It’s a party our Muslim and non-Muslim neighbors, friends, and family look forward to being invited to each year. It’s a time to come together as a community, share heart-felt conversations, have laughs, chow down lots of delicious food, and exchange gifts. Kids participate in fun crafts, decorate cookies, and receive eidi. The reality is that we cannot keep up with the tradition this year.

Despite social distancing, we have decided that we will continue to lift our spirits and switch our summer décor to Eid décor, and make it the best Eid for our family and our child. We want to instill the love of Islam in my daughter and make the Islamic festivals a real part of her life. We want to create warm Eid memories, and COVID-19 isn’t going to stop us from doing that. I really hope you plan to do the same.

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Here are 4 ideas to inspire you to bring that festive spirit alive for your family this Eid ul-Adha:

Hajj and Eid ul-Adha themed activities and crafts

There are so many activities to keep the little ones engaged, but having a plan for Eid-ul-Adha with some key activities that your child will enjoy, makes the task so much easier.

Kids love stories, and for us parents this is a great way to get a point across. Read to them about hajj in an age appropriate way. If you don’t have Hajj and Eid-ul-Adha related books, you can get started with this Hajj book list. Read together about the significance and the Islamic traditions of hajj, and the story of how zamzam was discovered. While you teach them the story of the divine sacrifice of Ibrahim 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him), ask relatable questions. As a lesson from the story, give your child examples of how they can sacrifice their anger, bad behavior, etc. during this season of sacrifice for the sake of Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He). Ask your children how they would feel if they had to give away their favorite toys, so that they can comprehend the feeling.

Counting down the 10 days of Dhul Hijjah to Eid ul-Adha is another fun activity to encourage kids to do a good deed every day. Have different fun and education activities planned for these 10 days.

Family memories are made through baking together. In our household, Eid cannot pass without baking cookies together and sharing with friends and family. Bake and decorate Eid ul-Adha themed cookies in the shape of a masjid, camel, or even lamb, and share with the neighbors one day, and color in Islamic wooden crafts the next. This DIY Ka’bah craft is a must for us to make every year while learning about the Ka’bah, and it’s an easy craft you can try with your family. Have the kids save their change in this cute masjid money box that they can donate on the day of Eid.

Decorate the main family areas

We are all going to be missing visiting friends and relatives for Eid breakfast, lunch, and dinner this year, so why not jazz things up a bit more at home than usual?

Start decorating the areas of your home that you frequently occupy.  Brighten up the living area, and/or main hallway with a variety of star and masjid-shaped lights, festive lanterns, and Eid garlands, to emphasize that Eid has indeed arrived. Perhaps, decorate a tent while you tell your children about the tent city of Mina.

Prep the dining room as if you are having Guests Over

Set up the breakfast table as if you are having family and friends over for Eid breakfast.

These times will be the special moments you spend together eating as a family. Now, with all hands on deck, plan to get everyone involved to make it a full-on affair. What specific tasks can the little ones take on to feel included as part of the Eid prep and get excited?

While the Eid table set-up itself can be simple, the moments spent around the table sharing in new traditions and engaging in prayer will insha’Allah be even more meaningful and memorable.

 An afternoon picnic

Family picnics are a perfect way for family members to relax and connect. If Texas weather permits, we may take advantage of a cool sunny day with a picnic at a nearby, shady park. With the heat wave we are experiencing, it may either not happen or will be an impromptu one.

Out of all the picnics, it’s the impromptu family meals on the lawn or at a park that I love the most. The ones where we grab an old quilt, basket, light meals, fresh fruits and venture out into the backyard or a nearby park. It’ll be a perfect socially distanced Eid picnic.

Eid ul-Adha comes around just once a year, so let’s strive to make the best of it for our children, even amidst this global pandemic.

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MuslimMatters has been a free service to the community since 2007. All it takes is a small gift from a reader like you to keep us going, for just $2 / month.

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

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