Towards Sacred Activism

towards-sacred-activism

A few decades ago, it was the personal sacrifices of ministers that captured the country’s attention on social justice matters—the likes of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and our own Minister Malcolm X. It was their spiritually transformed lives that made them relevant long after their passing. But today we see Muslims too shallowly engaging Islam to be transformed by it, let alone for them to transform society through it.

—Leenah Safi, Preface

Towards Sacred Activism is a seventy-five page primer for Muslims who want to get involved in social activism.

Dawud Walid, who is an imam, fellow, and author, begins this work with the definition of justice (both linguistic and functional) and then moves on to show how social justice fits within the framework of enjoining the good and forbidding the evil. He then moves on to provide a firmly grounded introduction to the topic of enjoining the good and forbidding the evil, including its prerequisites and etiquette. Subsequent chapters delve into the differences between alliances and coalitions, how to navigate LGBT community engagement, and, finally, a really lovely chapter on spiritual self-care for activists.

While the information in this book felt basic as I read through it, the truth is that we often separate those Quranic verses and hadiths from the work that needs to be done on the ground. That separation has no basis in the reality of Islam, and this book is a good place for Muslims to begin to reintegrate the two.

I will be recommending this book to everyone I know. The text is also accessible and engaging enough that I’d love to see it as a part of high school curricula for Muslim students.

Find it here: Goodreads | towardssacredactivism.org | Amazon.com


Black lives matter. They have always mattered, and they will always matter.

The Prophet ﷺ said that when we see an evil, we should change it with our hands, and if we can’t, we should change it with our tongues. In that spirit, get to work. Go to a protest. Contact your elected officials. Donate. Sign a petition. Speak up in your community. Call out friends and family if they say something racist. Interrogate your bookshelves. Make dua. And, most importantly, if you’re not Black, educate yourself and your children.

Ways to help from BLM: https://blacklivesmatters.carrd.co/

Children’s Books Featuring Black Characters
Black Books Matter: Children’s Books Celebrating Black Boys
Broadening the Story: 60 Picture Books Starring Black Mighty Girls

“Putting Justice Into Practice: Khutbah on the George Floyd Murder and Police Brutality by Dr. Tahir Wyatt

“Your Black Muslim Friends Are Not Okay, America’s Knee Is On Their Neck” by Nikia Bilal on MuslimMatters

Muhiima’s Quest

 

muhiima

Muhiima’s family doesn’t usually celebrate birthdays, but when she wakes up one summer morning one year older and wondering if she looks different, her mother hands her a wrapped box and a map. She explains that Muhiima will go on a quest on this special day.

Muhiima sets off on her bike and visits her father’s bookstore, her grandmother’s house, her Quran teacher at the masjid, her aunt’s henna salon, and her uncle on the basketball court. At each stop, she receives another wrapped box and a piece of advice. “Don’t forget your roots.” “Walk in modesty.”

When she finally arrives back home, everyone she met on her quest in awaiting her in her decorated house. Her mother helps her open all of the little packages, taking a single pearl from each one that she threads onto a necklace for Muhiima to wear.

Muhiima gets to bask in the love and support of her family on her special day, and readers will benefit from the lesson that different families do things differently.

The illustrations are fun and whimsical; here are my favorites.

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Find Muhiima’s Quest here: Goodreads | Rahma Rodaah | Amazon.com


Black lives matter. They have always mattered, and they will always matter.

The Prophet ﷺ said that when we see an evil, we should change it with our hands, and if we can’t, we should change it with our tongues. In that spirit, get to work. Go to a protest. Contact your elected officials. Donate. Sign a petition. Speak up in your community. Call out friends and family if they say something racist. Interrogate your bookshelves. Make dua. And, most importantly, if you’re not Black, educate yourself and your children.

Ways to help from BLM: https://blacklivesmatters.carrd.co/

Children’s Books Featuring Black Characters
Black Books Matter: Children’s Books Celebrating Black Boys
Broadening the Story: 60 Picture Books Starring Black Mighty Girls

“Putting Justice Into Practice: Khutbah on the George Floyd Murder and Police Brutality by Dr. Tahir Wyatt

“Your Black Muslim Friends Are Not Okay, America’s Knee Is On Their Neck” by Nikia Bilal on MuslimMatters

Treasures of Jannah

 

treasures

In this sweet and simple picture book by Yasmin Egala, brother and sister Adam and Hana visit Grandma, but instead of telling them a story, she tells them about a place called Jannah!

Adam wants to see Jannah on a map, but Grandma laughs and explains that it’s not even in this universe. She then offers them a vivid description of Jannah, with palaces and treasures, rivers and trees, and, best of all, no rules and the freedom to do whatever they like. Hana and Adam then brainstorm all of the wonderful things they are going to do in Jannah.

This concept picture book asks the question: “What would you like to do in Jannah?” Adam and Hana begin the conversation, and the illustrations (partially in Grandma’s garden and partially in Hana and Adam’s imagination) help readers begin to answer for themselves.

The book ends with Grandma sharing with Hana and Adam how they can get to Jannah: “love Allah and be good Muslims.”

Here are some of the truly delightful illustrations, which are by the talented Azra Momin.

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Find it here: Amazon.co.uk


Striving to Be an Antiracist

The Prophet ﷺ said that when we see an evil, we should change it with our hands, and if we can’t, we should change it with our tongues. In that spirit, get to work. Go to a protest. Contact your elected officials. Donate. Sign a petition. Speak up in your community. Call out friends and family if they say something racist. Interrogate your bookshelves. Make dua. And, most importantly, if you’re not Black, educate yourself and your children.

Ways to help from BLM: https://blacklivesmatters.carrd.co/

Children’s Books Featuring Black Characters
Black Books Matter: Children’s Books Celebrating Black Boys
Broadening the Story: 60 Picture Books Starring Black Mighty Girls

“Putting Justice Into Practice: Khutbah on the George Floyd Murder and Police Brutality by Dr. Tahir Wyatt

“Your Black Muslim Friends Are Not Okay, America’s Knee Is On Their Neck” by Nikia Bilal on MuslimMatters

40 Hadith of Our Mother ‘Aisha

Black lives matter. They have always mattered, and they will always matter. See the link after the review for ways to get involved.


40hadith

This slim volume of nonfiction is a collection of forty hadith narrated by the Mother of the Believers Aisha (may Allah be pleased with her). It is collected by Nuriddeen Knight, who is a fellow with Yaqeen Institute and whose work I deeply admire. I’m so grateful a friend gifted me a copy of this book. Knight has offered us an opportunity to hear some of the Prophet’s words through the frame of Aisha’s experience. This book gives us a portion of our deen, transmitted through Aisha, and collected by Knight.

In the preface, the author includes the hadith that mentions the practice of gathering forty hadith: “Whoever safeguards 40 narrations for my nation in the matters of this religion; God will raise him as a scholar and I shall be an intercessor and witness for him on the day of resurrection.” After learning this hadith, Knight decided to collect forty hadith narrated by Aisha in order to showcase her as a scholar.

After the preface, there is a short biography of Aisha, and then the hadiths follow. Each appears on its own page (in English) and is followed by its source. The hadiths cover a variety of topics, and there are well-known hadiths as well as some lesser-known ones. There is something extremely powerful about seeing at the top of the page, over and over again: “Narrated Aisha, mother of the believers . . .”

Aisha holds a unique place among the narrators of hadith because of her proximity to the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him). For example, it is because of her that we know that the Prophet’s last words were: “Oh God, [with] the highest Companions.” We also know details about his private life, like what his mattress was made out of (“a tanned skin stuffed with palm-fibres”).

We also learn about Aisha herself through her narrations. For example, in one hadith she questions the Prophet about why he prays such a long prayer when God has forgiven all of his sins. The Prophet of course responds his famous response: “Shouldn’t I love to be a thankful servant [of God]?” Through this incident, we see that Aisha examined her life, and Islam as a result, through a critical lens, questioning anything and everything.

This book is a nice short introductory volume of hadith and would make a lovely gift for a friend (or for yourself).

Find it here: Goodreads | 40 Hadith of Aisha | Bookshop.org | Amazon.com | Book Depository


Striving to Be an Antiracist

The Prophet ﷺ said that when we see an evil, we should change it with our hands, and if we can’t, we should change it with our tongues. In that spirit, get to work. Go to a protest. Contact your elected officials. Donate. Sign a petition. Speak up in your community. Call out friends and family if they say something racist. Interrogate your bookshelves. Make dua. And, most importantly, if you’re not Black, educate yourself and your children.

Children’s Books Featuring Black Characters
Black Books Matter: Children’s Books Celebrating Black Boys
Broadening the Story: 60 Picture Books Starring Black Mighty Girls

“Putting Justice Into Practice: Khutbah on the George Floyd Murder and Police Brutality by Dr. Tahir Wyatt

“Your Black Muslim Friends Are Not Okay, America’s Knee Is On Their Neck” by Nikia Bilal on MuslimMatters

Ways to help from BLM: https://blacklivesmatters.carrd.co/

Bashirah and the Amazing Bean Pie

Black lives matter. They have always mattered, and they will always matter. See the link after the review for ways to get involved.


bashirah

Bashirah’s school is breaking for the Eid holiday, and when they return on Monday, they are all supposed to bring a dish from their culture for culture day. Bashirah is excited to bring her family’s bean pie.

Bashirah is thrilled by all of the preparations for Eid, including a special outfit for her and the fact that she’s finally old enough to help make the bean pie this year. After the Eid prayer, the house fills up with the smells of fried chicken, sweet potatoes, macaroni and cheese, and green beans as Bashirah and her Pop-Pop take their place in the kitchen to make the delicious pies.

The three generations of family enjoy their holiday, praying and eating together, and asking who made the delicious pie!

On Monday, Bashirah takes a pie to school for culture day, and her teacher invites them all to share in each other’s cultures while reminding them that Islam is an antiracist religion: “People, We created you all from a single man and a single woman, and made you into races and tribes so that you should recognize one another. In God’s eyes, the most honored of you are the ones most mindful of Him” (Qur’an 49:13).

Find this sweet story about culture, Eid, and community here:
Goodreads | Ameenah Muhammad-DigginsBookshop.org | Amazon.com


Striving to Be an Antiracist

The Prophet ﷺ said that when we see an evil, we should change it with our hands, and if we can’t, we should change it with our tongues. In that spirit, get to work. Go to a protest. Contact your elected officials. Donate. Sign a petition. Speak up in your community. Call out friends and family if they say something racist. Interrogate your bookshelves. Make dua. And, most importantly, if you’re not Black, educate yourself and your children.

Children’s Books Featuring Black Characters
Black Books Matter: Children’s Books Celebrating Black Boys
Broadening the Story: 60 Picture Books Starring Black Mighty Girls

“Putting Justice Into Practice: Khutbah on the George Floyd Murder and Police Brutality by Dr. Tahir Wyatt

“Your Black Muslim Friends Are Not Okay, America’s Knee Is On Their Neck” by Nikia Bilal on MuslimMatters

Ways to help from BLM: https://blacklivesmatters.carrd.co/