Thursday, July 17, 2014

As I have been asked by several friends, here is a quick update on what is going on with me and what I am doing this summer in sha'Allah:

1. Having retired from my positions as Muslim Chaplain @ Harvard Islamic Society and Muslim Chaplain @ the Harvard Chaplains this past year, I continue to work with our beloved Harvard Muslim community, particularly around wonderful initiatives such as the Harvard University Muslim Alumni and Harvard Islamic Society-sponsored Muslim Life Fund.

2. After 19yrs, my tenure as Affiliate @ the redoubtable Islamic Finance Project (IFP)  (Islamic Legal Studies Program, Harvard Law School) ends this summer.

3. I am participating in majlis fiqh (facilitated and offered by the Imam Shafi`i Institute| in which we are reading Imam al-Nawawi's Minhaj al-Talibin with Sh Habib Mustafa Sumayt al-Hadrami (hafizahu llahu ta`ala).

4. I am teaching Hanbali fiqh (Sunday mornings) (I am currently reading al-Rawd al-Murbi/Zad al-Mustaqni` with a small group of select students) and `ulum al-qur'an/`ulum al-hadith on Mondays  (expected to resume after Ramadan).

5. As a member of the Academic Working Group sponsored by the Initiative on Islam and Medicine (Program Medicine & Religion, U Chicago), I am preparing for our second retreat in the beginning of August.

6. I am working on catching up on the back log of questions that I have received this Spring on nawazil fiqh al-mu`malat (Islamic financial ethics and law) at Straightway Ethical Advisory, the shari`ah-compliant finance advisory group at which I am Managing Partner.

Thursday, August 08, 2013

`Id Mubarak! May each year find you well and may Allah accept our deeds!

Thursday, April 25, 2013

NY Times Op-Ed

No Room for Radicals in Mosques
Published: April 25, 2013

JUST hours after the two suspects in the Boston Marathon bombing were identified as Muslims, Representative Peter T. King of New York, the Republican chairman of the House Subcommittee on Counterterrorism and Intelligence, called for an "increased surveillance" of Islamic communities in the United States. "I think we need more police and more surveillance in the communities where the threat is coming from," he told National Review. "The new threat is definitely from within."

Mr. King's hypothesis, and the widespread surveillance policies already in effect since 9/11, assume that the threat of radicalization has become a matter of local geography, that American Muslims are creating extremists in our mosques and community centers.

But what we're learning of the suspects, the brothers Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, suggests a different story, and one that has itself become familiar: radicalization does not happen to young people with a strong grounding in the American Muslim mainstream; increasingly, it happens online, and sometimes abroad, among the isolated and disaffected.

The YouTube page of Tamerlan Tsarnaev, for example, does not contain a single lecture from a scholar, imam or institution in America. One report suggests that he found the theology taught in a local Cambridge mosque, the Islamic Society of Boston, unpalatable: while attending a Friday service in which an imam praised the life and work of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Mr. Tsarnaev shouted that the imam was a "nonbeliever." The younger Tsarnaev brother seems to have rarely attended a mosque at all.
Representative Peter T. King of New York, the Republican chairman of the House Subcommittee on Counterterrorism and Intelligence, called for an "increased surveillance" of Islamic communities in the United States. "I think we need more police and more surveillance in the communities where the threat is coming from," he told National Review. "The new threat is definitely from within."

Mr. King's hypothesis, and the widespread surveillance policies already in effect since 9/11, assume that the threat of radicalization has become a matter of local geography, that American Muslims are creating extremists in our mosques a terror, we'll all find ourselves increasingly secure as more Muslims heed the call - coming to Islam as it is in the United States, as a real, living community.

Suhaib Webb is the imam of the Islamic Society of Boston Cultural Center. Scott Korb, who teaches writing at New York University and the New School, is the author of "Light Without Fire: The Making of America's First Muslim College."


Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Facing Our Deepest Challenges (Ustadh David Coolidge)

Ustadh David Coolidge: a gem of an essay on Prophetic character, compassion, guidance and inner transformation:

Facing Our Deepest Challenges: One of the beautiful things about the sirah of the Prophet (may God bless him and grant him peace) is that it shows how the Prophet directly...
A few months ago, our community's very own Professor Martin Nguyen (Asst Prof @ Fairfield U; Harvard AM '06; Harvard PhD '09) posted an entry on his blog  in which he called attention to several recently published introductory reference works for budding Arabic manuscript experts. Enjoy!

Monday, September 17, 2012

Here is the English translation of Shaykh Abdullah Bin Bayyah's recently published statement concerning the latest anti-Muhammad video and the protests associated with it. 

Declaration Regarding the Offensive Video to Muslims

The days and nights pass, as do the centuries and successive generations, and your light ever shines, and the fragrance of your remembrance penetrates throughout, your gentle cascade falls throughout, and your call to humanity remains timeless and universal: {O Mankind! Be dutiful to your Lord, Who created you from a single soul} – Quran. How then, can the vile block the light of the sun, or how can the putrid stream pollute the lucid water of life? Rabid dogs bark at the moon, but yet the caravan proceeds. They are the enemies of peace, the enemies of prosperity, the enemies of humanity. Your disparagers were referring to someone else, a product of their vile imagination. They deserve less than to be mentioned by name, and we care not to speak to them. Rather, we address people of reason and understanding. We address believers, and we address Muslims, with these three thoughts:

1) To people of reason and understanding: We ask everyone to ponder the ramifications of provoking the feelings of over one billion people by a small party of people who desires not to seek peace nor fraternity between members of humanity. This poses a threat to world peace with no tangible benefit realized. Is it not necessary in today’s world for the United Nations to issue a resolution criminalizing the impingement of religious symbols? We request all religious and political authorities, as well as people of reason to join us in putting a stop to this futility that benefits no one.

2) To the world’s Muslims: Expressing outrage in the face of the maligning of God or the Prophet Muhammad is a moral right, as faith cannot be devoid of feelings and immunity from provocation. It is from the completeness of our faith that we love the Prophet Muhammad more than our wealth, more than our beloveds, more than even our own selves. It is from our complete love of him that we follow God’s commands, specifically where He says: {And do not let a hatred of a people prevent you from being just; Be just, as it is closer to true faith} and {No soul bears the sin of another} and {He who kills a soul not in recompense for another soul or in retribution for the sowing of corruption, is as if he has killed all of humanity} – Qur’an. Consequently, we implore you not to inflict violence upon anyone, whether foreign delegations or otherwise. You should not destroy property or flout the values and cherished principles that you defend, as attacking innocents, killing foreign diplomats and ambassadors contravenes religious and moral principles before it contravenes political ones. It is important that we not forget the Prophet Muhammad’s praise for those who exercise restraint upon becoming angry. You should prevent those individuals who behave recklessly from actions that are unreasonable and immoral. We ask the Muslim youth to be disciplined in word and deed, and to act appropriately. We call upon Muslim religious authorities, governments, and community and organization leaders, to devise a strategy to deal with such situations in the future. These situations will likely reoccur, so it is important to manage the conflict before it does. We call upon Friday prayer congregations to perform the prayer and to seek blessings upon the Prophet Muhammad and to apprise the international community of the seriousness of the situation.

 3) To our Western neighbors: Our Lord has enjoined us to respect and treat equitably our neighbors, regardless of race or religious affiliation. Jesus Christ also spoke of love of thy neighbor. We will remain neighbors forever. No reasonable person would conclude that it would be possible for either of us to disappear from the face of the earth. Therefore, why shouldn’t we cooperate to establish effective neighborly relations in an effort to create a space for mutual liberty and prosperity? We are extremely concerned with a small active minority in your countries that seeks to perpetuate a state of conflict and war. We estimate that such objectives do not serve the general interest. Therefore, it is our hope that you reconsider and criminalize the denigration of religious symbols, as such provocations do not serve the principles of free speech, principles that you and us both seek to uphold.

Shaykh abdallah bin bayyah
Vice-Chairman of the International Union of Muslim Scholars (IMUS)
President of the Global Centre for Renewal and Guidance
Professor of Islamic Jurisprudence at the King Abdul-Aziz University, Jeddah

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Learning Arabic

Check out this worthwhile blog post from our friend, brother and colleague, Shaykh Humza Maqbul Chaudry:
Ignoring the Messenger, Ignoring the Message... A Plea to the Ummah to Learn Arabic It is not a sin to not know Arabic. Generations of righteous and pious slaves of Allah and his Rasul, sallallau`alayhi wa sallam, came and left from this world, century after century, and they didn't speak a lick of Arabic. Heck, many of them didn't even know how to read. However, if they learned anything, they learned Arabic, because the book of Allah was the most important thing to them in existence, and the Arab prophet was the most the most dear person to them in creation. Until the twentieth century, no Muslim, righteous or unrighteous, undertook a course of education that wasn't based on the Kitab and Sunnah, nor was any institute of education built that wasn't based on the Kitab and Sunnah. Today, we take fourteen years of compulsory government-mandated education followed by four, six, eight and ten years of additional professional education, on our own dime; none of these nearly two decades of "education" will ever see mention of Allah or His Messenger, sallallahu`alayhi wa sallam, and when they rarely do, they will see them mentioned in the context of disbelief. Can we not see the difference between those simple farmers, housewives, slaves, and peasants, and us? They learned nothing, and had very simple lives in which they lived humbly, simply, and honestly. We are sophisticated and know everything under the sun about all things material. We learn Spanish, French, Latin, Java, C++, and literally tomes of jargon. ... but we never could be bothered to read the message sent to us by the Creator of the worlds, and we couldn't be bothered to understand His messenger, sallallahu`alayhiwasallam. The basic understanding of Arabic, meaning enough to understand basic sentences, vocabulary, syntax, morphology, etc., and how to look up words that one doesn't know in the dictionary takes between 1-2 years of study depending on time given, rigor of study, and diligence of the student. This is enough to change salat al-Tarawih from a test of patience to a journey in wisdom divine. You won't understand all of it, but it is a beginning. We spend twenty-some odd years learning that which will perish, and turn our back to that which will last forever... Do we not have a need to understand the message in this era? Are we so well off that we can take it easy with Allah and focus on other things? Is our position among the nations so strong and respected that we no longer need to learn wisdom? Is our relationship with Allah so strong that we are unassailable by those who wish to harm us? These are all concerns for this world. In the hereafter, what excuse will we have when we meet Allah?