Friday, December 28, 2018

A Message from Brother Ashfaq Taufique



The most ideal way to end the year 2018 is to make al-ehtesab (accountability) of our accomplishments, our shortcomings, our failures, both as it relates to the worldly matters but more significantly, our spirituality. The meaning al-ehtesab is very profound, but I will limit my discussion to only one meaning, “accountability”.

The concept of al-ehtesab is engrained in our faith. We believe that on the Day of Judgement, we will stand in front of our Lord and be accountable for our beliefs and our deeds. Ehtesab is to constantly evaluate and improve ourselves. One of the companions that was called a man of Jannah by Prophet Muhammad (SAW) used to cleanse his heart from any ill feelings towards anyone and forgive those who may have harmed him.

We are a failure if we do not put knowledge into action. In the Quran, Allah equates those people as donkeys carrying a load of tawrah (knowledge). In another place in the Quran, Allah shows His disgust on those who say, but do not act upon it.

May Allah (swt), make us among those who put the teachings of the Quran and Prophet Muhammad (SAW) in to our daily lives. We pray that we model our lives in the fashion of our leader Muhammad (SAW). We pray that while we make our goals for the worldly matters, we should remember death and the accountability we face. Ameen.

Year 2018 In Review by Br. Ashfaq Taufique


AlhamdoLillah, we are blessed with a vital community and indeed an enthusiastic executive committee that organizes programs in many facets that benefit the community. I would like to recap here many of the activities performed in 2018:

In the area of community development, we had a workshop on Islamic Wills, a series of Leadership Trainings, a series of Hajj Workshops, an Islamic Financing Seminar, a Bullying Workshop, a lecture on Prophetic Medicine, a Quran Competition, and paid tribute to our High School and College Graduates. We also had an Islamic Book Fair, as well as provided an opportunity to our community to fulfil the sunnah by inviting a licensed Hijamah practitioner for men and women to come.

We had active outreach programs where we organized Soup Kitchen meals, participated in “Habitat for Humanity” house building, participated in two “Rise Against Hunger” events, sponsored a table at the “Mercedes Marathon” and helped “Be a Blessing” with packaging of food and personal care items. We partnered with APPNA and had a Health Fair that served hundreds of community members and those from the community at large.

Our Open House brought community at large to our center and they left with a better understanding of Islam and Muslims. Our Ramadan outreach program brought more than 300 guest to our masjid to learn about Muslims and Islam as well.

We promoted community social engagement by conducting Community Breakfasts, Community and Eid Picnics, Iftars in Ramadan, Shawwal, Day of Arafah and Aashoora, a Welcome Back Hajji Party. We engaged our community youths with a Family Fun Night and had three levels of Essay Competition.

Our Human Rights Committee conducted Rohingya Refugees Clothing Drive and also conducted several Islamic Awareness lectures at local libraries.

May Allah bless our sisters who tirelessly conducted Monthly Story Times throughout the year and weekly in Ramadan. The Ramadan Craft Fair was a great success.

Our Imam provided several weekly classes to improve the spirituality of our community. Our Weekend Islamic School continues to help parents by providing them with an organized curriculum and guideline.

Truly our success is a gift from Allah swt, and we pray for more opportunities to engage with one another and learn our deen in the new year. Ameen.

Prophetic Parenting by Youth Director Rashid Al-Muntharee



In the previous two articles regarding Prophetic Parenting (go to www.bismillahvision.blogspot.com to read) we discussed the meaning of the verse “O you who believe save yourselves and your families from the Hell Fire…” [Tahreem:6]

Covered in that article were the following:

1. Abdullah ibn Mas’ood’s tafsir of “O you who believe” and its importance.

2. How to save ourselves and families from the Hell Fire

3. Children are the most important part of the family and what must done by parents to save and protect our children.

In this article I would like to share something from Zimmer a well-known Catholic Philosopher regarding how he hoped to destroy Muslims. I hope this resonates with us all. May Allah grant us the tawfeeq. Ameen.

Alas, how can we be pleased with sending our young children to a faculty in America or to such and such country, and he [the parent] says: ‘’My child has gone to study’’, [whilst he has gone] to study disbelief, hearsay, deviation, how to turn away from his family, his country and religion!! They will teach him this, just as Zimmer [The Catholic philosopher and theologian] advocated.

This Zimmer was a head of Christian Missionaries and he sent Christian missionaries to the various regions of the Arab-Islamic Countries. He gathered them before dispersing them and said, ‘’Inform me of what you will be doing in the Muslim countries?’’ One of them said: ‘’I will convert five to Christianity.’’ Another said: ‘’I will convert two to Christianity, and I will give them the blessings of Christianity and make them thankful.’’ He (Zimmer) said: ‘’You have not understood our desired objective! It is not possible to convert the Muslims to Christianity; it is not possible for the Muslims to reject their religion, except if you teach them. The most important thing is that you teach the Muslim children by sowing doubts in their souls about their religion and rejection in their souls against their countries. And eventually when one of them sets up a centre in his country, he will give no importance to anything else except his desires. And when he gathers wealth, he will do so according to his desires. Therefore, he ends up having no religion and no connection with his Creator. Therefore, cultivate the lands of Muhammad [i.e. the Muslim lands] upon this.’’

And he (Zimmer) said in another speech of his: ‘’Indeed, Islaam is like a tree, therefore cut off its branches. Its branches are the children of the Muslims, therefore teach them so that they can aid you to cut off the tree of Islaam in their countries. You will not be able to cut it off yourselves, rather teach their children to aid you in uprooting it in their countries.’’

This is their statement [O reader]! If this is their statement, then how can a person excuse himself for sending his young child to Germany, France, America, Italy and London, whilst he has not yet been nurtured upon the correct creed. This is an error. [Your Muslim child] will come to you whilst turning away from his religion; turning away from his parents and looking down upon them. He will consider them to be [people] who neither possesses understanding nor do they know, whilst in reality he is the one without understanding. Therefore, it is incumbent upon a person to give serious concern to the children under his care because they are a trust. And when you neglect them, then indeed you have betrayed the trust. Allaah [The Most High] said:

يَـٰٓأَيُّہَا ٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ لَا تَخُونُواْ ٱللَّهَ وَٱلرَّسُولَ وَتَخُونُوٓاْ أَمَـٰنَـٰتِكُمۡ وَأَنتُمۡ تَعۡلَمُونَ

‘’O you who believe! Betray not Allah and His Messenger, nor betray knowingly your Amanat [things entrusted to you and all the duties which Allah has ordained for you]. [Soorah Anfaal: Ayah: 27]

Therefore, your children are a trust and when you neglect them, then indeed you have betrayed them. It is obligated on every one of us to fear Allaah with regards to the [affair] of his children and those under his care.

The days go past and the end of a [person’s] lifespan draws closer, and a person does not know when his life span will suddenly come to [an end]. [A person] must strive to teach his children beneficial knowledge, nurtures them upon goodness and obedience to [Allaah and His Messenger].

“All of you are shepherds and each of you is responsible for his flock. A man is the shepherd of his household and he is responsible for them. A woman is a shepherdess in her husband’s house and she is responsible for her flock.”

And Allaah knows best, and may the peace and blessings of Allaah be upon Muhammad [sallal-laahu-alayhi-wasallam], His family and companions.



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Source: An Excerpt from ‘Al-Fataawaa Wad-Duroos Fil Masjid Al-Haraam’- by Al-Allaamah Abdullaah Bin Muhammad Bin Humayd (rahimahullaah): pages: 938-944. slightly paraphrased]



Upcoming Burma Task Force Fundraiser


Birmingham Islamic Society is teaming up with Burma Task Force of Chicago, Illinois in organizing a fundraiser program on Sunday, January 13, 2019 at Soiree Events Gallery from 3 to 6 pm inn sha Allah. This fundraiser is to collect funds to help pay for the legal expenses to take the Burmese government to the International Criminal Court in the Hague, Netherlands. As we all know, several Bosnian Serbs were taken to this court several decades ago for their part in the mass killing of the Bosnian Muslims. Now we have the current case of mass killings of women, children and elderly people, rapes, house burnings and mass exodus of over 1 million Rohingya people from their native Burma to Bangladesh. The United Nations has already called it a genocide. Currently, the US congress is also considering calling it a genocide, which is a more severe designation from the previous designation of ethnic cleansing, thanks to the efforts of the Burma Task Force, especially its chairman, Br. Abdul Malik Mujahid.

So we appeal to the conscience of our local Muslim brothers and sisters to come and attend this program. Tickets can be bought online at Eventbrite. Details are on attached poster. This is the first time, we will also be video streaming this event LIVE to many communities within and outside Alabama and asking for their help in this cause by donating.

Winning Essays from the Family Fun Night Competition


As part of the BIS Family Fun Night, an Essay Competition was organized for the elementary,

middle and high school students. Topics were designed to encourage creative thinking and thoughtful expression. The elementary aged topic was, “How has the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) Influenced Your Life?“. Middle school students were prompted to write about, how “The Prophet (peace be upon him) and the Qur’an tell us to practice two things: (a) practice good and spread it to others and (b) avoid evil and help others to stay away from it. As a Muslim youth living in our modern time and place, how can you practice the above two teachings of Islam?”. High school’s topic was, “You do not do evil to those who do evil to you, but you deal with them with forgiveness and kindness.” Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) - Sahih al-Bukhari. Explain the individual, social, and cultural aspects of applying the above tradition during the contemporary period and the issues and/or benefits that we might have”.

Maria Ejaz placed first followed by Musab Khan for High School.

Elementary school student Haroon Nabi was first followed by his brother Yusuf Nabi in second and Saima Iqbal was third.

There was no entries for middle school.

Here are the winning essays.


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Applying the Hadith of Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him) to Our Daily Lives

By Maria Ejaz

There are many passages from the Hadith of Prophet Muhammad, but a few sayings stand out because they apply so well to today’s world. Hadith is a collection of traditions containing sayings of the prophet Muhammad. The Hadith contained Muhammad's accounts of his daily life which we know now as the Sunna. Throughout his life the prophet found success in spreading the message and culture of Islam. He is duly noted as one of the most influential people in the world leaving a mark for generations to come. His maxim, “you do not do evil to those who do evil to you but you deal with them with forgiveness and kindness”, expresses a primary belief for people then and now. The meanings of Prophet Muhammad's (peace be upon him) teachings apply to the following three aspects of life today in a beneficial way: individual, social, and cultural.

The effects of the above quote on an individual are amazing to see. It teaches people to not let their evil thoughts of others get the best of them. The quote emphasizes forgiveness, a now well-known key quality in a human being, and kindness, a vocal point to prevent evil such as bullying from spreading. The emphasize on forgiveness is key because it shows that people must learn to forgive much like Allah(swt) who is the most merciful, but as the Quran says it is not always easy to forget, and this is the same quote many individuals still live by today: “Forgive, but don’t forget”. The emphasize on kindness is so crucial to understanding the meaning of the prophet's quote because it explains to individuals that kindness is the best peace offering one can offer. People must learn from Allah(swt), who shows his kindness through his mercy.

Not only are individuals impacted by the prophet's message, but also society as a whole shaped by this lesson. Society carries the weight of pride which will eventually lead to their downfall when they do not forgive and do not teach others to forgive: “ He who has in his heart the weight of an atom of pride shall not enter Paradise”. The societal need for salvation, including from people of any religion in which they believe in an Almighty, and the fear of an Almighty helps this lesson dig deeper into the societal roots we have all been raised on.

The cultural effects are closely related to the societal effects, but differ due to creating cultures based off of Islamic law in various parts of the world. The cultures in different parts of the world differ in multitudinous ways. An example of the effect on Britain, a country with many religions including Islam as a primary religion, is when a British man by the name of Terry Waite forgave his capturor, a Dubai man named Hezbollah. Another example of the effect of the forgiveness part of the quote is the Pakistani Law of Forgiveness which protects killers.

It is hard to argue with the messages of the messenger himself because of his wisdom which benefited not only people long ago, but also those of our world today, but such as with the Pakistani Law of Forgiveness we can see that not everyone has the same perspective on certain topics, and how something can be taken a different way than its intent. Overall, the effects of the teachings of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) have well impacted our individuality, society, and cultural laws and beliefs.

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Generosity is the beauty of Islam

By Musab Khan

The hadith or the saying of our Prophet Muhammad (SAW) are so important that if we follow them, our life can be a whole different story. Following his path doesn’t just affects you but everyone around you; friends, family, society. In one of Prophet Muhammad’s (SAW) saying he says that, if something that is harmful has been done to you by someone, do not respond the same way, rather be generous and be forgiving towards them (Sahih al Bukhari). Applying this hadith in our lives and doing this to somebody can change their life in many ways.

A disbeliever gave some money as loan to prophet to feed the poor. He came to Prophet Muhammad (SAW) to get his money back three days before the end of loan duration, to get his attention he pulls Prophet Muhammad (SAW) cloth in a disrespectful way and asks, “where is the money that I have loaned you?” That disrespectful behavior has caught by one of the companions of Prophet Muhammad’s (SAW) attention, and the companion was Umar (R.A). Umar (R.A) confronted the disbeliever with anger and wanted to punish the disbeliever badly because of the behavior toward Prophet Muhammad (SAW). Prophet Muhammad (SAW) became very disappointed by the action of Umar R.A. Prophet Muhammad told Umar (R.A) to pay the disbeliever back and give him more than what he loaned. The disbeliever was shocked by the generosity and forgiveness from Prophet Muhammad (SAW), later the disbeliever accepted Islam.

One time when I was in school, a student started calling me out by some names and talked about my religion on how bad it is. I became mad, which led me to say something bad, but next day I gave him something and apologized to him only because of Islam. After few days, he came to me and apologized for what he said. This is an example of following the way of Prophet Muhammed (SAW), if it’s used then things will be beneficial for the person using it and the ones around you.

Following the way of Prophet Muhammad (SAW) is very important for the individuals in Islam these days, since the disbelievers of Islam are against Muslims because of what they see in the media, we Muslim must prove them wrong. The easiest way to prove them wrong is to follow Islam in the right way.

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How Prophet Muhammad (saw) Influenced my Life

By Haroon Nabi

Prophet Muhammad (saw) influenced my life by teaching me how to be kind and generous, loving and respectful. He also taught me to be responsible. Thanks to his teachings I try and be a religious Muslim boy.

A long time ago when there was a fight for who would put the black stone in the Kaba, Prophet Muhammad (saw) he was chosen to settle the dispute. He asked one of the men there, to bring a cloth and put the black stone in the middle. He then asked one man from each tribe to pick up a corner of the cloth and place the stone in the Kaba. This solved the problem in a good way, because everyone got to help equally. I keep this in mind when my friends have an argument. I try and solve it in a way that doesn’t make one of my friends sad while another is happy.

There is also a story about Prophet Muhammad saw always helping that I need to remember when I’m asked to do something I don’t want to do. One day, the Prophet and his companions were stopping for the night and planning to have a lamb for dinner. Each of the companions volunteered to do something to help. The first one said he would kill it, the second one said he would skin it and the last one said he would cook it. Prophet Muhammad (saw) offered to gather the wood. The companions, said, no stress on you, but the Prophet said something like, “Allah doesn’t like people who think they are better than others.” So, he went and gathered some wood. If he could help, so should everyone.

Another story that I should try to follow is when a man brought grapes for the Prophet and he ate them all without sharing. Normally he shared everything, so one of the companions asked him why didn’t you share. And he said, the grapes were sour, and if you ate them you might make a bad face and hurt the poor man’s feelings. I try to not hurt anyone’s feelings, but I need to remember this story and keep trying harder.

While so much of what I do has been influenced by Prophet Muhammad: pray, say Assalamalaikum, read Quran, share, forgive. There are a lot of things I need to remember: eating with my right hand, being more responsible, not losing my temper, and الحَمْد لله, there are a lot of stories of Prophet Muhammad (saw) that I can learn and put in to action.

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How the Prophet Influenced My Life

By Yusuf Nabi

The Prophet Muhammad (salllahu alayhi wa sallam) influenced our lives in many ways. He is our role model because he is the last prophet of Allah (swt), and he is guaranteed Jannah. He also received the Quran and is the example for how Muslims should behave. He influenced us in all aspects of our life, especially for me, in giving charity, being kind, and being patient.

Prophet Muhammad (saw) taught us that helping the poor and needy is important. There is a hadith that says, “He is not a perfect Muslim who eats his fill and lets his neighbor go hungry.” I try to remember the poor and needy when I eat. I give food to my friends when they don’t have any at lunch. As a family we make sandwiches and lunches and give them to the homeless downtown. I also give food and other things to my little brother when I don’t want to, because Prophet Muhammad also said, "None of you will believe until you love for your brother what you love for yourself,” (Bukhari & Muslim).

Prophet Muhammad (saw) told every one to be kind, even when people are mean to us. In fact it says in the sahih al bukhari, “kindness is a mark of faith and who ever is not kind has no faith.” As a student, I see kids being mean all the time, and I try to not be like them. I try to help those that people are being mean to by being a friend to everyone. I also try to help my teachers when everyone is out of control by telling everyone to be quiet and being a good example.

Sometimes being patient is hard for me. I have two little brothers who annoy me, a sister who bullies me, and a class that is sometimes crazy. I try and be patient and remember what Prophet Muhammad experienced in his life. He taught us to be patient. He went to Ta’if to preach Islam, and they threw stones at him. This is an example of patience as he could have asked Allah (swt) to hurt them, but he prayed to Allah (swt) to make them Muslims instead.

Prophet Muhammad (saw) was blessed, but had a hard life. For me, his example is not just charity, kindness, and patience, but in all things, so that Inshallah, I too will go to Janna. We should all be happy that we are Muslims and be happy that we have a good example to follow, Alhumdulillah.

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How did Prophet Muhammad (s) influenced your life?

By Saima Iqbal

Many times we were told in the Qur’an that the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) was sent as a Mercy to mankind. And we Muslims cannot describe as to how, and how much, he made us feel blessed for having him (pbuh) as our Prophet. We love him of course, because he has brought with him Islam, my and your religion. Without the Islam he has brought, I would not have known about myself and about my Lord, Exalted is He. Without the Islam he has brought, I would have gone astray, away from Allah (swt) and away from the Truth. Without the Islam he has brought, I would not have known about the Day of Judgment, wherein we will be rewarded for the good deeds we have done and punished for the evil deeds we have committed. Without the Islam he has brought, I would not have become close to my parents, my siblings, and the rest of the people of my household and many, indeed, too many to mention.

It is a sad thing indeed that many people are unaware of these sayings of the Prophet (pbuh), and even ridicule and accuse him of being this-and-that when truly I have not known anyone better and kinder than him.

Now that I am writing this essay, I’ve realized that the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) played a major role in my life and that I do love him and am very proud of being among the people of his (pbuh) Ummah. For all the goodness people see in me now, it is because of Islam which he (pbuh) has brought that turned me this way. Allah (swt) has indeed granted me my prayer and has consoled me regarding my problem, Alhamdulillahi Rabbil A’lamin.

One of my favorite sayings of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) is this A believer is one who desires for his brother what he desires for himself.” And another saying tells us that when a believer supplicates for his brother, an angel will say, Ameen may you have the same.

Muslims believe that Islam is a faith that has always existed and that it was gradually revealed to humanity by a number of prophets, but the final and complete revelation of the faith was made through the Prophet Muhammad in the 7th century. the most important type of revelation for Muslims. The Qur'an is regarded as a special revelation from Allah to Prophet Muhammad. It was revealed to him in Arabic. The Qur'an is therefore different from any other book for Muslims because it contains the words of Allah.

Muslim High School Basketball Team in Action by Rashid Al-Muntharee


Alhamdulillah I’m very honored and grateful to have the opportunity to be a part of something so special and amazing. We are one of only a few communities in the US that have an organized high school basketball team, Alhamdulillah. It’s an awesome sight to see the boys as well as their parents being so committed. We practice on Mondays and Thursdays and our games are on Tuesdays at Mountain Brook Community Church.

At every game the Muslim fans outnumber the fans of the non-Muslims! The fathers, mothers, and siblings of the players attend every game Masha’Allah. As of today, our record is 2-2. They have all been nail biters. We lost both games by a combined total of 4 points!

Listed below is the team roster:

Omar Qashou 0

Colin Mobley 15

Sufyan Al-Muntharee 44

Nooruldeen Absi 25

Adil Al-Jallad 24

Jaylen Giles 1

Samba Jalloh 11

Saleh Jalloh 3

Nadeem Jaber 6

Jalal Sabahi 2

Abdallah Deeb 9

Jacorey Giles 23

Tony Mobley Jr. Assistant Coach






Hijamah, Cupping Therapy, Comes to BIS by Sakeena Ahmed


Hijamah cupping therapy, is a neglected sunnah of the Prophet (peace be upon him). This is a highly recommended practice that offers many health benefits. It is a natural, holistic, healing therapy that comes from the teachings of Prophetic medicine. It is important to revive our traditional health treatments in accordance with the Sunnah.

"Wet cupping is done by creating a vacuum in a cup that is placed on the body. This vacuum creates a negative pressure and pulls the muscles into the cup and therefore, draws the blood to the cupped area. This is known as “dry cupping”. Then you remove the cup in order to make small, shallow incisions in that same area, before putting the cup back on. This pulls out the toxic blood, acids and excess fluids from the body. This is known as wet, or blood cupping."

"Hijamah is the religious or spiritual aspect of this procedure. “Hijamah” is the Islamic version of cupping therapy. Muslims practice hijamah cupping therapy, in accordance to the way of the Prophet (peace be upon him). It means that the patient and hijamah practitioner should have done their ablutions (wudu) and should recite Quran during the hijamah procedure."

On Saturday, December 1, 2018, the Birmingham Muslim community was blessed with two hijamah practitioners from Dallas, TX. Br. Saiyad Ahmad and Sr. Fatima Akram both took time from their busy schedules to offer their hijamah services to about 40 brothers and sisters from our community at the Hoover Crescent Islamic Center. They had a full schedule of patients from morning to evening. Patients paid up to $90 to have the procedure completed, which lasted about 20 minutes per person. It was a spiritual experience for all who participated, many for the first time having it done. May Allah reward Br. Saiyad and Sr. Fatima for their time and patience with us. Insha'Allah we can invite them again to the community to offer their services.

To read more about "hijamah", please visit 10 Things You Should Know About Hijama Cupping Therapy.

HHRD Fundraiser for Building Syrian Refugee Container Homes by Farooq Chandiwala



Helping Hands for Relief and Development (HHRD) organized a fundraiser in Birmingham at the Embassy Suites Hotel in Hoover on Saturday, Dec. 9, 2018. The videos were well done to inform the audience of the condition in which these hapless refugees live, this time in Lebanon. Br. Mirza Krndic of Helping Hands, who has come before to our community, had large posters set up in the room, which not only highlighted plight of the Syrian refugees but also other HHRD projects in different parts of the world. What was sad to hear is that these poor refugees had to fend off scorpions, snakes and other such wild creatures where they live. That touched my heart and I was very much grieved, along with the others in the audience.

What grieved me equally was the very small crowd. The room had a capacity of around 150 people, but only 25 people attended. Br. Monzer Talib was the fundraiser and he did a good job in motivating those attending to donate. Some people called in their donation, and I believe a total of around $40,000 was raised, not bad for such a small crowd. Though HHRD had placed posters and BIS had made appropriate announcements, our Muslim brothers need to increase their attendance. The attendance in last year’s event and other events held by other charities have been good, so we all need to step up to the plate and help out in future events. We spend an enormous sums of money in our personal events, such as weddings, get togethers, etc., which is okay, but we should increase our efforts to help our fellow Muslims who are in severe distress world wide. Our place in Aakhirah should be our concern also. So I request the Birmingham Muslim community to help out by attending future such events, and help by donating to these noble causes.

Children's Book Author, Randa Taftaf, Visits IAA by Aminah Shah




“IQRA!” It’s the first word the Angel Jibreel said to the Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him! It is incumbent upon each of us as Muslims to seek knowledge, and we send our children to school so that they can acquire and hone the skills necessary to become lifelong seekers of knowledge.

The Islamic Academy of Alabama played host to a guest author, Randa Taftaf, in November 2018 as a part of its IQRA Program. Sr. Randa Taftaf, author of the Zaydo Potato series of children’s picture books, visited the school for a series of events designed to promote a love of reading and writing, teamwork, and belief in the superpower of being a Muslim who believes in Allah and makes good choices. Sr. Randa is also a professor at the University of South Florida and has taught English Language Learners for over 17 years.

Preschoolers were treated to a special story time with Sr. Randa, and they had a great time finding the “hidden potato” in her story! Lower elementary students listened to Sr. Randa read to them as well, and then they participated in obstacle course-type team-building activities. Each one left the activities with a certificate certifying him or her as a “Muslim Superhero,” along with a face mask (because all superheroes need a mask, right?).

Upper elementary students through grade 8 welcomed Sr. Randa for an informative and motivational talk about the writing and publishing process. The students asked a lot of great questions, and they left with a renewed energy about their own writing. High schoolers and parents were invited to an evening event during which Sr. Randa spoke about the importance of reading in developing critical thinking skills. This was especially thought-provoking, as we parents are well aware that our kids are faced with potentially life-changing decisions every day and require the ability to use careful reasoning when making choices.

The takeaway from it all? First of all, read, read, and read some more. Kids need to be read to when they’re young, see the adults around them reading often, and be provided with opportunities to acquire new and varied reading materials. To become good at reading, you have to…READ! IQRA! The more our kids read, the better they will be able to reason and use critical thinking skills throughout their lives.

Secondly, IAA has a lot of good things going on! Please keep the school in your duas that we may be able to provide and grow the opportunities and programs that will help our students become lifelong learners and exemplary global citizens, insha’Allah!




GET INFORMED: Situation Regarding Uyghur Muslims in China



The situation regarding Uyghur Muslims in China is devastating to say the least, if you are unaware of what is going on, here are some links to shed some light on the situation:

https://www.taiwangazette.org/news/2018/12/4/spying-on-the-uyghurs-a-first-person-account-from-a-han-chinese-student

https://www.csmonitor.com/World/Asia-Pacific/2018/1119/There-are-no-people-China-s-crackdown-in-the-Uyghur-heartland?cmpid=ema::20181203&src=

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-china-45474279

https://pen.org/advocacy-case/ilham-tohti/?utm_source=Communications&utm_campaign=06f379bb25-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2018_11_19_04_43&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_c67d07604c-06f379bb25-248190849&mc_cid=06f379bb25&mc_eid=945c5d9375

Please turn your emotions in to action and contact the Chinese Ambassador and your local representatives urging action and public condemnation.

Here is an email to use as an example, that was sent by Br. Farook Chandiwala.

Mr. Cui Tankai

The Ambassador of China to the United States

Your Excellency:

I called your embassy telephone number twice today, but could not speak to anyone, nor could I leave a message; hence I am penning these few thoughts. There is a very strong indication of Uighur Muslims being forcefully taken to re-education and internment camps to force these people to abandon their religious faith and adopt a different lifestyle, against the principles of Universal Declaration of Human Rights as propounded by the United Nations. China is an important member of the UN, being one of the members on the Security Council. I was in Costa Rica some time ago and was impressed by the soccer field donated by the Chinese government. I am also aware of the many good projects China does in many developing countries in Asia and Africa.

As a world power, China needs not only to portray itself to the world as a do-gooder abroad, but must also adopt a laissez-faire attitude towards its own citizens. We request the Chinese government to treat the Uighur Muslims humanely, and not to force changes on their lifestyle through these forced internment and re-education camps. History will not judge the current Chinese government kindly. Please do the needful and help return these estimated 2 million of your fellow citizens back to their homes and lives.

We intend to follow up by contacting our government representatives and the US State Department for further action.

Yours sincerely,

Farook Chandiwala

Chairperson, Birmingham Interfaith Human Rights Committee

(associated with Birmingham Islamic Society)

Birmingham, Alabama

BIS Family Fun Night by Aser Janjua




On October 31, 2018, BIS held a Family Fun Night as a Halloween alternative for the community to gather and learn, all while doing fun activities for ages 3-11. 

We had engaging topics and activities for the event. For the girls and boys ages 7-11,there was a talk in the prayer area on the topic, “The difference between winners and losers according to Islam” and for the younger children, there were stories, activities and crafts focused around Prophet Yunus (AS) and the whale.

Sr. Kirin read beautiful books for the kids and had an activity to memorize the dua of Prophet Yunus (AS), as well as a cute whale souvenir to take home with them to remember what they had learned that day. Sr. Sakeena arranged a craft to make whales with paper, straw and ping pong balls to show how the whales blow through their blowhole.

At the end, the kids got to measure themselves, to compare their size to the size of a baby whale to get an idea of how big a whale can be with Sr. Aser.

Food was sold outside and the event concluded with salat al Isha and the announcing of the essay winners (see article regarding essay winners for a list of winners and their winning essays).

Alhamdulillah it is good to offer other options for the Muslim community to avoid participating in non-Islamic holidays, such as Halloween. Volunteers are always needed to organize such events. Please contact the BIS office if you are interested to help out in future events.




Wednesday, October 24, 2018

A Message from Brother Ashfaq Taufique


“Political Activism for Muslims is no longer an option; it is an obligation.”


We, Muslims, must get out of our cocoons and embrace the fact that we are Americans and as such have a grave civic responsibility to shape our government to deal with the internals of our country and more importantly our role as the leader of the world.

Let us accept the fact that currently, we as a group are a political liability. Changing this will require a grassroot efforts to “Get Out and Vote” campaign. Call me a dreamer, I believe that the day is not too far when major broadcast and cable media will recognize us Muslims as a statistical body. How we voted and were indeed the tipping factor in any of the elections will be the medium of the political pundits discussions. It is only then, that we will have voices to shape our domestic and foreign policies.

Inshaa Allah, Americans will be going to poll on November 6 and we need to be showing up in droves to make our voices heard. We need to make sure that we know the precinct we are voting in and what to expect. It would be best to get a sample ballot before, and understand the manifesto of each candidate before voting.

Anyone who turns 18 on or before November 6 is eligible to vote

Election Date: November 6, 2018

Voter Registration Deadline: October 22, 2018


Here is the link to Register Online:

https://www.alabamainteractive.org/sos/voter_registration/voterRegistrationWelcome.action


Download the PDF form here :

https://sos.alabama.gov/sites/default/files/voter-pdfs/nvra-2.pdf


BIS Fall Festival and APPNA Health Fair 2018



Birmingham Islamic Society, in keeping up with its vision of "improving quality of life for all," hosted the Association of Physicians of Pakistani Descent of North America's (APPNA) National Health Care Day 2018. Here doctors and other volunteers served the community at large with primary medical care, flu shots, cholesterol checks and other services.

Lifesouth blood mobile was invited and members of the Muslim community responded by donating blood to help the community at large.

Families while taking advantage of the health screening and donating blood, enjoyed the Mediterranean and Pakistani food for sale and the children enjoyed the free rides.










A Tool to Help You Decide Who to Vote For



If torture is important to you and you want to know how your congressional representatives have voted regarding torture in the past, you can view the CONGRESSIONAL VOTE SCORECARD. http://www.nrcatactionfund.org/election-resources/congressional-vote-scorecards.

 Here is a message from the National Religious Campaign Against Torture Action Fund.

----------------------

Dear Friends,

There are less than 20 days left until America picks a new Congress. I don't have to tell you how important this election is, but I do need your help in making torture important to candidates in this election. The NRCAT Action Fund has created three resources that you can use to tell your congressional candidates that you oppose torture.


1) Print off one of our signs and post it in your house or car window. The bigger the better!


2) Check out our Congressional Vote Scorecards - then write a letter to the editor praising or criticizing your incumbents for their records on torture.


3) Attend a town hall, rally, or other campaign event and use our bird-dogging tips to question a candidate about their views on torture.


Please act today to tell candidates that you want them to oppose torture!.


Sincerely,

Rev. Ron Stief
Executive Director
National Religious Campaign Against Torture Action Fund











The National Religious Campaign Against Torture Action Fund engages in public policy advocacy and electoral campaign work. It is a partner organization of the National Religious Campaign Against Torture.


The NRCAT Action Fund is a 501(c)(4) organization, and any donations you make to this organization are not tax deductible. However, your financial support will make a big difference as we work together to end torture.

If you no longer wish to receive emails from us, please click here to unsubscribe from this mailing list.

Questions? Please email campaign@nrcatactionfund.org


UPDATE: Clothes Collected Reach Bangladesh



As many of you hopefully remember, in January this year, the Birmingham Interfaith Human Rights Committee, arranged a clothing drive organized by Helping Hands for Relief and Development (HHRD).

We received word from HHRD that the clothes have reached Bangladesh. However, we are still waiting for photographs of the delivery event as it took place in Bangladesh.

We want to thank all the donors and volunteers who took part in donating, collecting, sorting, packing and even purchasing some of the clothes from local thrift stores. We want also to thank profusely, the members of Justice Committee of the Unitarian Universalist church who also participated wholeheartedly in this very noble effort.

To see pictures and read the article regarding the collection of the clothes you can read the BISmillah Vision Article here: http://bismillahvision.blogspot.com/2018/01/interfaith-clothing-and-essential-item.html

Refugee Crisis Event at UAB by Farook Chandiwala



I attended an event arranged by UAB Institute of Human Rights at Hill Center on Monday, October 1. The audience was approximately 75 to 100 attendees, and the program consisted of a fantastic film, Non Assistance, on the refugee crisis engulfing Europe.

The film showed how a few individuals put up some of their own personal money and bought a yacht to save refugees fleeing from Africa and the Middle East in dingy boats. The film claws at one's emotions and conscience; I was in tears. There were people of French, German and even Greek nationalities who were shown involved in this very noble project. Doctors without Borders were also shown in the film.

Unfortunately Dr. Tina Reuter-Kemper told the audience at the end of the film that the European Union had seized the boat, and it cannot continue its work any more. I have a copy of the film and I will look into possibility of showing it at BIS and maybe at IAA, hopefully in the near future, in sha Allah.

There were many good questions from the audience, which consisted of students and general community members, including some Muslim sisters, and answers from the director of the institute, Dr. Tina Reuter-Kemper, originally from Switzerland, who is now teaching courses on human rights at UAB. BIS Human Rights Committee is partnering with her committee and Unitarian Universalist Church Social Justice Committee to do programs on human rights issues.

To read UAB’s article on the event: https://cas.uab.edu/humanrights/2018/10/08/assisting-the-non-assisted/

Saving Yourselves and Your Families from Hellfire by Youth Director Rashid Almuntharee



“O you who believe! Save yourselves and your families from a fire (Hell), whose fuel is men and stones, over which are appointed angels who are stern and severe, and do not disobey, they only do that which they are commanded.” [Tahreem:6]

The meaning of “O you who believe”: Abdullah Ibn Mas’ood used to say, “Whenever you read or hear in the Quran “O you who believe” listen closely, because Allah is ordering you with that which is good for you or He is ordering you to stay away from a prohibition.”

As it relates to “Save yourselves and your families from a fire (Hell). This can only be fulfilled through the correct understanding and implementation of the Shahaadah. Knowing the Tawheed and that which negates it. Knowing the Sunnah of our Messenger and that which opposes it.

It is well known that children are the most important part of the family, so it’s upon the parents to protect them. This protection comes from the Divine Guidance sent down by Allah (swt) so they come to their Creator and fulfill His rights and the rights of their parents. We “Save them from the Fire by teaching, guiding, directing and also by keeping them away from any type of harm that will hinder their growth.

Story Time at HCIC is Back by Kirin Nabi


After taking a brief break after Ramadan, Story Time is back. Held on a week night and aimed at children aged two to six, Story Time is a great way to gather at the masjid to listen to stories with Islamic messages, meet with friends, and enjoy praying together in jammat.

September’s theme was Love and stories about our love of Allah, Allah’s love of us, familial love and silly object love were included. We read: Zaydo Potato: Allah Loves Me, Mikaeel and Malaika The Quest for Love, There is Greatness in Me, I Promise, Little Brother for Sale, and Allana’s Bananas. We also did a felt board story and a craft about things we love.


Story Time themes are announced before-hand, and include an activity. Usually the duration is about 45 minutes either starting or ending with Salat-ul Maghrib. Parents need to accompany their children, but registration is not required. 


So, please keep an eye out for the flyers, Facebook event notifications, and BIS emails to know when the next one is, and please come. Feel free to bring a friend too, everyone is welcome.



Tuesday, September 18, 2018

A Message from Brother Ashfaq Taufique



By the time you get this, we will be in the month of Muharram and the new Hijri year of 1440. I pray that Allah showers His blessings upon our community in the coming New Year. This holy month of Muharram is one of the four months declared by Allah as sacred. In it is the day of Aashoora, fasting on the day of Aashoora expiates the sins of the preceding year. Let us take advantage of the gift from Allah.

As we count our blessings in the coming new year and beyond, let us remember the trials and tribulations the Ummah is facing all over the world. These trials reflect our deficiency in developing a global brotherhood. A brotherhood that is based on our total commitment to our faith. Each one of us is fifty one percent responsible for our conditions and it can only be mended with our firm resolve to implement a righteous way of living that is not only manifested in our fulfillment of the obligatory rituals, but also our interaction with Allah’s creations. Prophet Muhammad, PBUH taught that our deen is “Deen of Muamalat” (our interaction with the humans and all other creations).

Our civil rights are at stake and we must all revisit our erroneous past strategy of staying in our cocoons. Political activism for Muslims is no longer an option, but an obligation. Let us make the Muslim Community a political commodity, by turning out in droves to vote. Here are some of the dates to remember for the upcoming election:

Anyone who turns 18 on or before October 22 is eligible to vote.

Last day to register: Monday, October 22, 2018

Last day to submit absentee vote application: Thursday, November 01, 2018

Election date: Tuesday, November 06, 2018

Register Online Here

Download PDF Registration Form Here


Welcome Back Haji Dinner



Keeping up with our tradition, BIS held a Welcome Back Haji Dinner on September 7, 2018. Brother Ashfaq welcomed the Hajis and prayed for their hajj to be Hajj Mabroor. Hajj Mabroor is a a hajj that is accepted, and according to the explanation by scholars, is accompanied with the righteous changes one makes in his or her life.

Imam Sameh moderated the panel discussion and asked questions regarding the feelings one gets when seeing the Kaaba for the first time, and the feelings one gets as they say salaam to Prophet Muhammad (saw). Hajis reflected on their innermost feelings and some were in tears as they talked.

One of the most unanimously resounding advices hajis gave to the audience and the community at large, was that one should not delay the performance of hajj. If one can financially and physically afford to do so, it is better to perform hajj when one is young, inshaAllah.

BIS Graduation Party at HCIC by Khaled Sakalla



On August 11th, 2018, the Birmingham Islamic Society held its annual graduation party at Hoover Crescent Islamic Center. The event was yet another successful event in which our high school and college graduates were honored for their academic achievements. The graduates included several high school candidates who represented their schools as valedictorians , which is something that we all can be proud of. The talents that our graduates exhibited suggests a great future awaits our young and future Muslim leaders.

The event included guest speakers from BIS and IAA, as well as the Imam. Each of the graduates had the opportunity to speak about their future aspirations and their strategy that made them successful. The last part of the event included a question and answer session from the moderator of the event to the audience, in which small prizes were given for members of the audience who provided correct answers to the questions asked.

At the end, gifts were awarded to the graduates in recognition of their achievements.  The Imam of BIS concluded the event with a dua’ for all graduates asking Allah SWT to bless them and make success come their way.

Education, Children, and Parents by Rashid Almuntharee



Alhamdulillah another school year is upon us and Fall is quickly approaching. Allah (SWT) says in His Book “Indeed We alternate the days (some days are good and some are bad) between mankind. “ This alternation is a reminder that change is a constant occurrence in life, and it’s never the same.

As our children grow, develop and change we too must grow as parents. This is a major problem in the relationship we have with our children; as parents we have stopped growing. We have discontinued education as parents, and instead have chosen to rely on what we learned from our parents and our life experiences. This will not allow us to be victorious in our relationships with our children and our lifelong battle with Iblees (May Allah’s Curse be upon him).

“Indeed in the Messenger of Allah you have the best example to follow” [33:21].

In all matters concerning that which is best for mankind, Prophet Muhammad (saws) is the standard. We must take from his example regarding raising our children and continue to grow as parents- so as to leave behind righteous offspring. InshaAllah, we will bring forth a series of articles solely dedicated to the relationship between parent and child.

May Allah grant us tawfeeq in our affairs. Ameen.


Eid ul Adha Community Festival by Sakeena Ahmed



This year's annual Eid ul Adha Community Festival was held on Saturday, August 25 from 2-6 PM at the Hoover Crescent Islamic Center. It was a very hot summer day, but families still came out to enjoy the day with their brothers and sisters.

A delicious biryani lunch was served. BIS arranged for free rides for the children, including a mind-winder carnival spinning ride, bounce house, a choo-choo train, and a mechanical bucking bull. It was a fun day for everyone as we celebrated our holiday. 



May Allah reward the volunteers who organized the event and helped on the day of it. We are always looking for new ideas and volunteers for our events. If you are interested in helping out or have suggestions for future activities, please contact the BIS Office.


Eid Prayers

Eid ul Adha prayers were held on Tuesday, August 21 at 9 AM at the brand new Hoover Met Complex Finley Center. This was the first time BIS held prayers at this location, which opened in 2017. The community loved the new facility, especially the free and easily accessible parking. Everyone recited the takbeerat in chorus as the crowd gathered. Over 3,000 Muslims attended the ritual prayer and sermon given by Imam Sameh.


It is always a blessing to see the diversity of the community in their traditional clothes and attire as they greet one another wishing "Eid Mubarak". BIS is looking to reserve this facility for our future Eid prayers, pending availability, insha'Allah.

You can click here:
https://www.facebook.com/ziyad.awad.14/videos/1844565055596763/ to see the community gathered before Eid Salat and listen to the Eid Takbeerat. Video courtesy of Br. Ziyad Awad.


Sunday, July 1, 2018

A Message from Brother Ashfaq Taufique



Allah (swt) blessed us to witness Ramadan. We pray that our fasting, Taraweeh and all the good deeds that we did are accepted, and we are among the ones who will attain Jannah, inshaAllah.

At all three Masajid, I saw volunteerism at its best as people selflessly served the community at iftaar and the last ten days of Ramadan with suhoor. I sincerely pray that Allah (swt) reward all volunteers immensely and reserve the highest place in Jannah for them, ameen.

One of the highlights at Hoover Crescent was a 10 to 15 minute lecture delivered by Imam Sameh on the explanation of the Quran that would be recited in the Taraweeh. The Musalees at the Hoover Crescent also saw an additional pavilion, and another shed for vending. The additional pavilion helped us serve the expected participants at the Iftaar.

Musalees at the Westside Masjid witnessed the renovation of the entire Masjid with new carpet, paint and totally renovated bathrooms with a wudu station.

In a month or so, the HCIC outdoor storage room and pantry will be completed and the two storage sheds will be removed to make room for additional parking. Depending on the collection of the last fundraising we will continue with the building of the additional parking and the plans for the building addition that will accommodate the weekend school and a clinic for Red Crescent Clinic of Alabama.