Category Archives: Fedwa Wazwaz

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.

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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)

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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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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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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

 

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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