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.
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/
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