Blog Archives

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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How do we take God as our Witness during Trials and Tribulations?

By Fedwa Wazwaz, Engage Minnesota

God! There is no deity but He! To Him belong the most Beautiful Names. (Qur’an 20:8)

fedwa wazwazThere are two names of God, often spoken together, that show the balance of our world. They are An Nafi and Ad Darr.

The name An Nafi means God is the one who helps and confers all advantages, who creates all that produces benefit for us, from our wealth to our charms to our intelligence. It is God who gives us moments of genuine and healthy laughter, and who comforts our souls.

The name Ad Darr means God is also the one who, in His wisdom, also allows adversity or distress. God does not set out to punish us. But He has given us free will, and He allows that things that hurt us to exist.

“He is the One who makes you laugh or cry.” Qur’an 53:44

These two names fit together, and together they show how benefit and harm are part of a cycle, like circling around the Ka’aba. These apparent opposites make us aware that every action is part of a larger balance, even when the whole pattern is not visible to us.

When we receive benefits, we should turn to God. And when harm falls to us, we should also turn to God. We may turn to other people in both cases as well—to be grateful or to seek help. But the prophets show us that the turning to God can give us a sense of empowerment. This way, we will never be humiliated by seeking help that doesn’t come.

We will always have God.

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Lessons on power and oppression from Moses 6

By Fedwa Wazwaz, Engage Minnesota

God! There is no deity but He! To Him belong the most Beautiful Names. Has the story of Moses reached thee? (Qur’an 20:8-9)

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Sometimes, it takes time before God’s justice will manifest. Oppressors are sometimes given many chances for repentance and transformation.  Some receive, while others reject and grow in delusion.

I was trying to decide which article by scholars on trauma to share, but the reading is quite long and difficult to follow.  However, I found this article on psychotherapy which is a very easy reading that can help you follow my analysis in this piece.  Try to read it before continuing with the rest of this reflection piece.

God opened a door of repentance, and, in the case of the magicians, they saw the truth and told Pharaoh:

So the magicians were thrown down to prostration: they said, “We believe in the Lord of Aaron and Moses”.

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Transforming Anger: Martin Luther King, Jr.

By Fedwa Wazwaz, Engage Minnesota

“Today, remember that MLK was an organizer who confronted unjust government policy of racism. Arrested 30 times, stabbed in the chest, sued for perjury, home bombed, and more; so America live up to its promises of Liberty & Justice for All.”
–Rep. Keith Ellison

MLK_mugshot_birmingham

Below is a presentation that I made regarding the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.  I prefer to remember him as someone who acknowledged the suffering and oppression taking place and turning to God to receive wisdom and understanding on how to transform that anger which is justified into a transformative force for himself and his community and beyond.

 

This is an excerpt from a forthcoming book, currently titled Reflections of Faith: Lessons from the Prophets.

Fedwa Wazwaz is a Palestinian-American born in Jerusalem, Palestine and raised in the US.  She was the chair of 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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