Blog Archives

A day, month, and a year of many blessings: Muharram Mubarak

By Fedwa Wazwaz, Engage Minnesota

A new year of growth inviting us to receive many blessings from God.

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Every day and moment is a blessing of life from God.

We completed the month of Dhul-Hijjah, which contained within it the greatest day of the month and year, ‘Arafah’. This day represents our return to God, a day of return, accountability, and brotherhood.

Yesterday was the Islamic New Year.
The first day of the sacred month of Muharram.

Muharram is the first month of the Islamic Hijri calendar, which follows the revolutions of the moon, hence the year is 11 days shorter than the Gregorian calendar.

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Why we shouldn’t normalize suicide

By Fedwa Wazwaz, Engage Minnesota

“Given the very high rates of suicide, which continue to rise despite all the intelligence and expertise of mental-health professionals, we can interpret God’s words as teaching us that this particular door needs to be shut as a possible solution.”

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One of the reasons I’ve refrained from mentioning the suicides of famous people is that, by talking about them, we are in danger of normalizing suicide. When famous people—especially those known to be good people—commit suicide, this sends a message to those among us dealing with depression and distress: Suicide is an acceptable way to solve our problems.

 

Most faiths speak of painful punishments for people who take their own lives. At times, people misunderstand or misinterpret when God closes a door. Some are understandably confused by how a compassionate God could punish people who are in pain.

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Learning from charlatans

By Fedwa Wazwaz, Engage Minnesota

Imam Ibn Hazm has noted, those who cross the line when offering advice and help become a “seeker of submission and possession,” are wrongdoers and not advisers.

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Sometimes, you meet people with knowledge. These people both expand your horizons and strengthen your faith in God. Sometimes, you meet charlatans. At first, they seem to offer you sincere advice and assistance, and yet it turns out to be toxic.

How can we tell the difference, and what can we learn from charlatans?

Sometimes God puts you in the path of charlatans. This isn’t so they can teach you wisdom, but so you can learn gratitude and humility from those who—like Satan and Pharaoh—try to pressure you into pledging your allegiance to them instead of God.  They will encourage you not to give money to ‘XYZ’ to encourage you to give money to them.

Knowledge and wisdom are a form of power. However, when they are misapplied, as by charlatans, they can do serious damage. It’s important to learn from charlatans what not to do.

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Emotional Bullying and Being a ‘Winner’ in Life

By Fedwa Wazwaz, Engage Minnesota

“Once a target realises this, they can take comfort from the fact that every time they are blamed, criticised or subjected to another specious allegation by the bully, the bully is implicitly admitting or revealing something about themselves.”
–Kitty Jones

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For a few years, a woman contacted me regarding a story about her in the shadows that was widely circulating.

Bits by bits the story unfolded itself to her, not through honest and open discussion, but slander, projection, bullying, emotional blackmail, gaslighting, mental abuse, harassment, and stalking.

The story began with another woman who wanted to bring her down and humble her. This woman saw herself as a matriarch and took it upon herself to act as Judge, Jury, and Executioner of the town. She demanded respect from everyone and wanted all women to acknowledge her sense of greatness in their eyes.

This woman created a team of people and designated each a role. One played the spokesperson, other the spies, some the hyenas who publicly attacked the woman targeted if she responds back. Others played an assigned role when it was needed.

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Sexual harassment – #CanYouHearEachOtherNow?

By Fedwa Wazwaz, Engage Minnesota

In the ladder of prejudice, we know things begin with talk that objectifies and dehumanizes the other.

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During the Presidential election, there has been a lot of talk about the tape in which US presidential candidate Donald Trump discussed grabbing women and violating their bodies. The views I share here, about sexual violence and harassment, are strictly mine. They are not a scholarly
or legal analysis in the light of Islam, but instead my personal reflections about what a story of Prophet Joseph, peace upon him, can tell us about life today.

The public dialogue about sexual violence against women seems to hit flash points of rage. We go for a while, quietly simmering, largely ignoring the topic. Then something happens, and we dump all the anger and angst out of our systems. While this may be cathartic, it’s not necessarily helpful. Instead, things stay much as they were until another flashpoint.

What these flashpoints lack is the nurturing or transformation that can lead us to a better understanding of ourselves or others. Each time, there’s a fire, an exchange of insults, and a declared winner.  Then we await the next crisis without fundamentally changing.

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