Author Archives: engagemn

Ghuroor, Muslim Women, and Shutting Down Grief

By Fedwa Wazwaz, Engage Minnesota

Now is a moment when people can respond like the Muslims of New Zealand, and allow everyone to grieve these losses together, as this was a terror attack against all our fellow human beings. Or else it’s a chance to treat all Muslims worldwide as guilty, and to hold us all responsible for these horrific killings.

fedwa

 

When most people talk about American Muslims and the chilling events that took place in New York City, Washington, D.C., and in planes above the US on September 11, 2001, they’re looking at it through one lens: Did American Muslims condemn those attacks? Or did they not condemn the attacks?

Most recently, public figures posed this question in a different way about Rep. Ilhan Omar: is she reverent enough about what happened on 9/11, or is she insufficiently reverent?

For anyone who has met Rep. Omar, the ways in which she is being portrayed in the US media—as an angry, attacking firebrand—must be surprising. I have met Rep. Ilhan Omar several times. She is a petite woman and a calm public speaker who is not at all intimidating. She is good-natured, always smiling, dignified, and approachable. She frequently talks about how she thanks God that she came to the US, and that she recognizes the opportunities it has opened up for herself and her children. She has worked diligently within the system in order to improve things for Americans.

And yet public discourse has repeatedly looked down on Rep. Omar, who because of her hijab is the most visibly Muslim woman in the US Congress. It has painted her as an angry, hateful outsider who is attacking America.

But staying silent isn’t an option either. Ghazala Khan—the mother of US Army Captain Humayan Khan, who was killed in 2004 in the Iraq War—is another visibly Muslim woman who took the public stage at the 2016 Democratic National Convention. Ghazala, who was a mother, a community volunteer, and worked in a fabric store, was derided by Donald Trump as a silent Muslim woman, unable to speak, oppressed and in need of liberation.
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Praise is for God Alone

By Fedwa Wazwaz, Engage Minnesota

Their call therein will be, “Exalted are You, O God,” and their greeting therein will be, “Peace.” And the last of their call will be, “Praise to God, Lord of the worlds!” (Qur’an 10:10)

fatiha

Gratitude is important. But hamd, or praise, is a state that’s even higher than gratitude. Indeed, when God breathed life into Adam, upon him peace, Adam’s first words were:

 

“Alhamdulillah,” or Praise and Glory to Allah.

As a species, our first word was hamd.

Many scholars note that the name Allah combines all “The Beautiful Divine Names.” It is also referred to as the Greatest Name of our Lord.

Hence, when you are seeking refuge with God, you are also saying:

I seek refuge with Allah The Most Gracious.
I seek refuge with Allah The All Wise.
I seek refuge with Allah the All-Knowing.
I seek refuge with Allah The All Kind.
I seek refuge with Allah The Most Powerful.
I seek refuge with Allah The Bestower.
I seek refuge with Allah The All Just.
I seek refuge with Allah Ever Present.
I seek refuge with Allah The All Loving…

…and so on.

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America’s Malala

By Fedwa Wazwaz, Engage Minnesota

I should not be expected to have allegiance/pledge support to a foreign country in order to serve my country in Congress or serve on committee. The people of the 5th elected me to serve their interest. I am sure we agree on that!
–Rep. Ilhan Omar, Fifth District, Minnesota

ilhan omarLeading Democrats in the US House of Representatives have said that, on Wednesday, they plan to put forward a resolution condemning Rep. Ilhan Omar. Although the text of the resolution is still unavailable, most assume it will call out Omar’s outspoken human-rights activism as anti-Semitic. In its secrecy and power, the resolution feels something like the fatwas some extremists issue against anyone who wants to challenge them to start a conversation.

Rep. Omar may have chosen her words poorly when questioning AIPAC. She apologized for that. However, her words did not warrant this overwhelming response. She did not—as she should not—use the stereotype about “Jewish money,” as some right-wing US politicians do when they bring up George Soros. She criticized AIPAC, which is a very powerful lobby group that boasts of its tremendous influence.

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

By Fedwa Wazwaz, Engage Minnesota

Living Islam vs. Using Islam Against Others

Living Islam means living, modeling, guiding, teaching, and counseling with loving care and concern. It is a life of trust, struggle, and noble effort. Using Islam often takes the form of holier-than-thou judgmentalism that is used to oppress and keep others in line. It often shows its ugly side through allegations that others are not “Islamic” or “obedient” enough. In actuality, the obedience that is demanded is not obedience as a result of taqwa, that is obedience to Allah, but rather obedience to the tyrant and his own fear-based self. When Islam becomes objectified in such a manner, the state of inner unity (that leads to outer unity, i.e. peace and where ‘it’, i.e. Islam, is ‘used’ to achieve an objective other than its divinely inherent goal of bringing peace and goodness to people’s lives.”

–Steven Krauss

Hijab, which in its essence means “to conceal,” is usually associated with Muslim women. Although other faith traditions promote modest dress, and Muslim men are also asked to dress modestly, most of the noise around this world is directed at Muslim women.

There are two unhealthy views around women wearing hijab. First, that a woman who wears hijab is always oppressed. Second, that women must wear hijab because they are necessarily seductresses, and men cannot follow their own consciences unless women are covered.

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Diversity, a sign of God’s Wisdom and Might

By Fedwa Wazwaz, Engage Minnesota

bay beach beautiful buildings

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

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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