Sunday, August 30, 2009

Text of my remarks at the Harvard Islamic Society, Opening Event, Aug 31, 2009:

Bismilahi r-rahmani r-rahim. As salamu 'alaykum. As Harvard Islamic Society Chaplain and Muslim Chaplain at the Harvard Chaplains, I would like to echo what the President, Hafiz Na'eel, and his fellow officers have said by welcoming you to Harvard and to this open house. I apologize for not being able to attend as I have a family related medical matter to attend to that took me out of town. Nonetheless I pray that your time at Harvard is beneficial and fruitful, for yourself and for others, in this life and the hereafter.

Before I became Muslim Chaplain, I was an undergraduate and then a graduate student here at Harvard. I can remember the excitement and eagerness that I felt; and therefore can relate to the similar feelings that I am sure you and your fellow first years must feel. Of all of the impressive resources and networks that I encountered at Harvard during my time here as an undergraduate--and you have no doubt seen that Harvard has a truly awe-inspiring array of resources to offer its students--I myself found the brothers and sisters at the Islamic Society, and the internal growth that resulted from my relationships with them, to be the most lasting and impactful aspect of my Harvard experience. As Chaplain during the last decade or so, I have witnessed first hand similar growth in contingent after contingent of students who have come from around the country and the world to Harvard. I therefore encourage you to take advantage of the Harvard Muslim community, embodied by the Islamic Society, while you are here. Get to know people, participate in activites and balance the growth that you will experience in other aspects of yourself with ethical and spiritual growth. I can assure you that you will find a warm and welcoming community of highly talented individuals who have also managed to fit the Islamic society, somehow, into their busy lives. In the Prophet traditions we find: "The best companions are those who, when you think of them (or are with them), remind you of God!" I encourage to encounter the experiental reality of this tradition in the Islamic Society.

Finally, let me point out to you yet another University resource: namely myself. As Islamic Society Chaplain and a Harvard Chaplain, think of me as resource who is available for personal consultations on various aspects of Islamic thought and practice. Feel free to grab me after jumu'a, track my blog, attend my study sessions, set up an appointment to see me during office hours (which are Fri 2-3 this semester), drop me a line by email at the Chaplain's e-mail address or call me at any time of day or night. From basic questions of Islamic devotional practice to inquiries into points of contact between Islamic thought and post modernist ethics, I am at your service.

May Allah bless us with guidance and decorate our endeavors with Success. Ameen. Wa 'alaykum as salam.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Al-hamdu li-llah, as promised, a more robust Harvard Islamic Society Ramadan Program (including communal fast breaking [iftarat] and performance of salat al-tarawih at the Harvard Prayer Space) will begin on Mon 8/31. Please consult the HIS website for more details.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

In sha'Allah, there will be salat al-tarawih starting tonight, Tuesday 8/25 @ the prayer space. Salat al-`Isha will start @ 9pm and Salat al-Tarawih will begin @ 9:15pm.

Friday, August 21, 2009

In light of the numerous reports of the sighting of the crescent moon of Ramadan (including in N America) that have come to our attention and as per the decision of the New England Imams' Council, in sha'Allah, we will be gathering to pray salat al-`isha and then salata al-tarawih in the Harvard Prayer Space (Canaday E Basement) in 30 min.

May Allah accept our fast, prayers and other good deeds during this blessed month!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

As-salam `alaykum wa-rahmatullah

The Imams' Council of the Islamic Council of New England has once again decided this year, by a majority vote, to continue to use moonsighting to determine the start and end of Ramadan. We advise and encourage members of the community to follow this decision, by way of following this local leadership body in an opinion that reflects the view of the majority of contemporary and classical Muslim jurists. Insha'Allah, a Council decision on the start of Ramadan should be announced by Friday night.

We are aware that a few mosques/Islamic centers in the Greater Boston area have chosen to follow pure calculations, a minority juristic view which has been adopted by ISNA since last year. It is possible that different methodologies will coincide on start and end dates for fasting. In any case, we caution against making these disagreements a cause for barren argumentation (such as that which led to the knowledge of Laylat al-Qadr being lifted up), stereotyping or questioning of the intentions of those involved. Let us instead focus our energies on reaping the spiritual fruits of Ramadan.

Wa s-salam
Suheil Laher and Taha Abdul-Basser
Muslim Chaplains at MIT & Muslim Chaplain @ Harvard (respectively)

Thursday, August 13, 2009

"Reaching for Low Hanging Fruit: Preparing for the Blessed Month of Ramadan" (nasa'ih/qa`z). Islamic Ctr of New England. Sharon, MA. Fri Evening. after Salat al-Maghrib)

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Today in sha'Allah I will be attending the opening bell of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) on the invitation of Mr. Brint Frith, President of Javelin Investment Managment, manager of the JETS Dow Jones Islamic Market International Index Fund (NYSE Arca-Listed JVS). (I am member of the Shari`ah Board for Javelin Investment Managment.) A live webcast (@ 9:29am EST) as well as an archived version thereafter will be available here.