Hijab is Not About Oppression or Seduction, It’s About Trust

By Fedwa Wazwaz, Engage Minnesota

Writeup of the talk coming soon…

Fedwa Wazwaz is a Palestinian-American born in Jerusalem, Palestine and raised in the US.  She was the chair for the Interfaith Relations at Islamic Center of Minnesota.  She has completed training in restorative justice at the University’s Center for Restorative Justice and Peacemaking.  She was a 2008-2009 policy fellow at the University of Minnesota’s Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs.  She is a public speaker and writer and lives in Brooklyn Park, Minnesota.

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Diversity, a sign of God’s Wisdom and Might

By Fedwa Wazwaz, Engage Minnesota

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The following verses are from chapter 35 of the Qur’an, titled Fatir or Originator

اَلَمۡ تَرَ اَنَّ اللّٰهَ اَنۡزَلَ مِنَ السَّمَآءِ مَآءً ۚ فَاَخۡرَجۡنَا بِهٖ ثَمَرٰتٍ مُّخۡتَلِفًا اَلۡوَانُهَاؕ وَمِنَ الۡجِبَالِ جُدَدٌۢ بِيۡضٌ وَّحُمۡرٌ مُّخۡتَلِفٌ اَلۡوَانُهَا وَغَرَابِيۡبُ سُوۡدٌ‏

(35:27) Seest thou not that Allah sends down rain from the sky? With it We then bring out produce of various colours. And in the mountains are tracts white and red, of various shades of colour, and black intense in hue.

وَمِنَ النَّاسِ وَالدَّوَآبِّ وَالۡاَنۡعَامِ مُخۡتَلِفٌ اَ لۡوَانُهٗ كَذٰلِكَ ؕ اِنَّمَا يَخۡشَى اللّٰهَ مِنۡ عِبَادِهِ الۡعُلَمٰٓؤُا ؕ اِنَّ اللّٰهَ عَزِيۡزٌ غَفُوۡرٌ‏

(35:28) and human beings too, and beasts, and cattle diverse are their hues. From among His servants, it is only those who know that fear Allah. Verily Allah is Most Mighty, Most Forgiving.

The verses point to the fact that of diversity within the universe created by Allah. Diversity all around us and no homogeneity and uniformity; all shades of color and various types of creation everywhere. Diversity in the food we eat, not just in color but shape and size. Even in the mountains, are variations of colors.

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What’s the Difference Between Being Gaslighted and Triggered?

By Fedwa Wazwaz, Engage Minnesota

First and foremost, we shouldn’t rationalize and justify our own abuses of others. We should turn to God, seek protection, and remember Him often.

 

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When I was young, our home burned down. Afterwards, every time I saw a firetruck or heard of a fire, it would trigger memories of that difficult event. Over time, I was no longer triggered, although I still remembered it clearly. A trigger is anything stored in a person’s memory that brings back a whole, traumatic event. For a long time, if I saw or heard a firetruck, I would smell smoke, feel myself choking on it, and feel the panic I felt during the fire.

What of the person who triggered you or is being triggered?

Sometimes, the person who has triggered you has done something wrong. Perhaps you are triggered when you feel demeaned, and it brings up experiences of being humiliated. Those experiences can be from society such as racism, sexism, xenophobia or childhood experiences from school or family members.

First, you should manage your trigger by calming yourself down. Later, you can address the demeaning comment as itself, and not for all the feelings it’s brought up inside you.  I try to do this with Islamophobes.

To be gaslighted is much different. Gaslighting is a tactic whereby a person or people attempt to gain power by making someone question their reality past or present. Triggering is generally incidental and accidental—the firefighters who turned on the siren didn’t mean to harm anyone. But gaslighting is purposeful and intentional: the abuser tells someone, over and over, that an event did not happen, in order to gain or secure power. It is a way of undermining a person’s confidence in themselves and their perceptions of the world.

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The importance of listening

By Fedwa WazwazEngage Minnesota

The first duty of love is to listen.
–Paul Tillich

fedwa wazwazMuhammad, upon him peace and blessings, is the seal of the prophets and the universal messenger.

He was born in Mecca, in what’s now the modern-day Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, in 670 AD.  Muslims believe that he was the last in a series of prophets chosen by God, and the teachings revealed to the Prophet Muhammad form the basis of Islam.  

Muhammad isn’t just one among the prophets: He connects the stories of all the other prophets together. As part of his journey, we’re told that Muhammad traveled to Jerusalem, where all the prophets were briefly resurrected and joined him in prayer.

All the prophets’ stories help guide us in our lives, but Muhammad’s story is the thread that brings all the others together. He brings together the stories of Moses, David, Jesus, and all the others who shone out to help us steer our own lives.

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The Prophet Muhammad’s Beautiful Names

By Fedwa Wazwaz, Engage Minnesota

“The resemblance between me and the other prophets is like a beautiful house that is complete except for a last brick. All who see this marvel at its beauty, but they are also shocked by the missing brick. With me, that building of prophethood is completed.” –Prophet Muhammad, upon him peace and blessings

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It’s well-known that God has many names, at least 99 of them. We also know that learning God’s names is an important way of getting to know Him. Just so, the prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings upon him, also has many different names for us to know.

All these names aren’t known to us, as only God knows the Prophet Muhammad fully and completely. None among us can know Muhammad as God knows him. But we can pray for God’s help in knowing Muhammad as the prophet would like to be known, and for help knowing how God would like us to connect to Muhammad.

Part of this journey is learning the Prophet Muhammad’s names.

‘Seal of the Prophets’

One of Muhammad’s titles is “Seal of the Prophets.”

Muhammad once said: “The resemblance between me and the other prophets is like a beautiful house that is complete except for a last brick. All who see this marvel at its beauty, but they are also shocked by the missing brick. With me, that building of prophethood is completed.”

The lives and experiences of all the prophets who came before Muhammad were used to nurture him, and thus, at last, he became the final brick in the building of faith. This happened at the moment when he summoned the souls of all the prophets, upon them peace, to al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem. There, all the other prophets, peace and blessings on them all, prayed behind him.

In this way, the beautiful house was sealed.

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