Saturday, August 19, 2017

A Message from Brother Ashfaq

These are the words read on behalf of Brother Ashfaq at the Community Wide Graduation Celebration

Graduation and commencement mark the end of a phase in our lives, but more importantly it is also the beginning of a different, and hopefully, challenging phase.

For many of our high school and college graduates, this potentially is a very important juncture and a time to determine the next facet of their lives. As they prepare to meet the future challenges, I am taking an opportunity to offer a few words of advice.

As Muslims, we have a dual responsibility towards our community and to our nation.  First, as Muslims and second as Americans.  Despite popular propaganda, there is an inherent conflict between Islam and American values. We can, without compromising on the tenants of our faith, be good Muslims and patriotic Americans.  This phenomenon must be reflected in all aspects of our lives, be as an employee, neighbor, coworker, student and the list goes on.  We must proudly declare our faith and more importantly our actions must manifest our Islamic and American values.  My experience is that we get more respect, when we stand for our values and not shy away from our religious duties, as it relates to our worship or promoting our moral values.

In this digital age, it is very easy for us to fall in the trap of information overflow.  We need to learn the difference between information, education and knowledge.   Knowledge is what makes us a superior creation and distinguishes us from angels despite the better element used for their creation.

Information and education should be treated as tools that can lead to knowledge.

As you explore careers, pick one that is your passion and not just financially rewarding.  

We desperately need American born and raised scholars of Islam to serve as resident scholars and youth leaders.  The Fiqh for the American Muslims is not the same as overseas and we need fatwas that keeps our culture in mind.

Muslim communities need civil rights lawyers, journalists, educators, and psychologists.

Sisters, if you want to be a physician, consider the area of OB/GYN.

Lastly, I want to thank the committee that organized the community wide graduation celebration. It was wonderful.  

IAA's First Day of School by Principal Ziyad Awad

On August 9th 2017, The Islamic Academy of Alabama opened its doors and welcomed 212 students to its 21st year educating students in a safe, stimulating, Islamic environment.
IAA strives to continue to pave the roads of a future of opportunities for its students by further developing school events and activities. IAA’s 2017-2018 Mission Focus is to inspire character building, develop leadership, promote comfort through reading, and enhance technology classroom incorporation.
  • Character Building: This year, IAA’s theme of the year is Fairness. Where students and teachers are encouraged to teach, enforce and model fairness throughout the year.
  • Promote Reading: IAA’s IQRA program aims to encourage its students to be independent and self-selected readers. This year we aspire to exceed last year’s goal of over half a million school-wide reading minutes.
  • Enhancing Technology: The Islamic Academy of Alabama strives to provide a progressive range of learning options to accommodate each individual student’s academic strengths and weaknesses, and also their interest. Therefore, IAA has worked towards incorporating technology in its classrooms. This year, every middle and high school student will be given the opportunity of daily Chromebooks educational use.
  • Leadership Opportunities: At IAA, we aim to develop student leadership through various school activities and curriculum such as student council, Jummah Khatib, and peer mentoring. Student leaders are inspired to model commendable attitude, value, and behavior.
We, the IAA Family, will continue to celebrate IAA’s past, glorify IAA’s present, and mold IAA’s future.
Ziyad Awad
IAA Principal

Weekend Islamic School's New Session has Begun by Principal Dr. Nabiha Yusuf

Alhamdulillah, the new session of the BIS Weekend Islamic School has begun.  

August 6 was the first day back at Hoover Crescent Islamic Center, and our students were excited and happy to be back.  Classes are on Sunday from 10:00 am - 1:30 pm and the students spent much of the first day settling down in their classes and meeting their new teachers.

We had a successful Teachers’ Orientation on July 30, 2017 hosted by our Vice Principal Dr. Amjad Javed. Our teachers and students have done a wonderful job adapting themselves to the new set up in the masjid due to the new construction.  This year, we have a highly experienced Pre-K teacher, Sr. LeeAnne Shiver who is keeping our youngest minds happy, Masha'Allah! We will be starting a youth class (for 15 years and up) from September 10, 2017, which will be taught by Br. Fahim Qazi and Br. Osama (Sammy) Kanpher.
May Allah (SWT) reward our parents for placing their children in our care and our teachers who make every effort to shape these young minds towards the teachings of Islam. May Allah (SWT) bless our students who will become ambassadors of Islam and worthy citizens of our country. We are growing and to keep up with the needs of our community BIS has planned to construct a new building to house our school. Please donate generously to this noble cause and help our school grow and become a valuable resource for the children of our community.

Jazakallah Khair

The Bounty of Speech by Imam Sameh Asal

In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful
The power of speech is a great bounty that Allah, the Almighty, has bestowed on us. Allah, Exalted be He, has always reminded us in the Qur’an of the great bounty of making us articulate and able to express ourselves unlike other creatures. Allah, the Almighty, says:
"الرحمن علم القرآن خلق الإنسان علمه البيان."
“The Most Merciful, Taught the Qur'an, Created man, [And] taught him eloquence.”
A Muslim is duty bound to show gratitude to Allah for such a great bounty, by making good use of his tongue, in saying what is pleasing to Allah, and refraining from saying what displeasing to Him. The human tongue can be a means to attaining happiness in this life, and the Hereafter, or a means to reap suffering in this life and punishment in the Hereafter. It can be a means to attaining Allah’s pleasure or a means to incur his wrath, a means to establish good relations with others or a means to create hatred and sow grudges between people. It could also be a means to friendship or a means to enmity. It all depends on the way we use it. To envision the seriousness of the matter, one needs to reflect on the questions:
  • How many times a family conflict occurs because of a word that is said at the time of anger?
  • How many times two brothers or sisters had a conflict because of something said?
  • How many fights started and inflamed because of a bad word word?
  • How many times family ties are disrupted due to an irresponsible talk?
  • How many times people lose their friends because of something said irr we said?
  • How many time a person put himself in trouble because an irresponsible talk that he did not think about before saying it?
That is why Islam teaches us to always say the good word and refrain from saying the bad word, to be responsible when we talk, and to refrain from irresponsible talk. The Prophet (SAW) has taught us that the good word is a charity. He (SAW) said:
"الكلمة الطيبة صدقة."
“The good word is a charity.”
Allah, the Almighty, told us in the Qur’an about the status of a good word and the good effect it has on others versus the bad word and its bad effect. Allah (SWT) likened the good word to the good fruitful tree and the bad word to the bad tree uprooted from the surface of the earth with no stability. Allah (SWT), says:
"ألم تر كيف ضرب الله مثلا كلمة طيبة كشجرة طيبة أصلها ثابت وفرعها في السماء تؤتي أكلها كل حين تؤتي أكلها كل حين بإذن ربها ويضرب الله الأمثال للناس لعلهم يتذكرون.  ومثل كلمة خبيثة كشجرة خبيثة اجتثت من فوق الأرض ما لها من قرار."
“Have you not considered how Allah presents an example, [making] a good word like a good tree, whose root is firmly fixed and its branches [high] in the sky? It produces its fruit all the time, by permission of its Lord. And Allah presents examples for the people that perhaps they will be reminded. And the example of a bad word is like a bad tree, uprooted from the surface of the earth, not having any stability.”
Brothers and Sisters!
Some of us may think they are free to say anything at anytime without having any sense of accountability. They might engage in an irresponsible talk not knowing that everything is counted on it and that we will be accountable to Allah for every word we say. We should always remember when we say anything that what we say is recorded by the angels. Allah (SWT) says in the Qur’an:
"ما يلفظ من قول إلا لديه رقيب عتيد."
“Man does not utter any word except that with him is an observer prepared [to record].”
The Prophet (peace be upon him) once corrected the misconception that one of his Companions had in this regard. This companion thought, like many of us may think, that we are not held responsible for what we say. He asked the Prophet (PBUH) saying, “Shall we be called to account in respect of that which we say?” He answered: “…What else other than what people say that causes them to be thrown in the Hell-Fire upon their faces?”
Allah’s Messenger (SAW) taught us we that should only say what is good or be silent. He (PBUH) said, “Whoever believes in Allah and the Last Day should speak good or keep silent.” This means that we should think about what we will say before we say it,  and we should evaluate the benefits versus the harms. Based on that we should decide whether it is good to say something or to keep silent. Imaam Al-Shafi`i (may Allah have mercy on him) said. “If you wish to speak then it is upon you to think before you speak. If you think there is good in it then speak and if not then do not speak.”
Every time we want to say something, we should ask ourselves these questions:
Is this saying of mine pleasing to Allah? Will I be rewarded for saying it or will I incur sin instead? If the answer is yes, then we should say it, otherwise we should keep quiet.
We should keep our tongues from any foul, irresponsible talk, backbiting of others, tale-carrying or interfering in other people’s affairs, which are all bad manners. A good Muslim is described by the Prophet (peace be upon him) to be the one that the people feel safe from his tongue and hands. Abu Musa al-Ash`ari (may Allah be pleased with him) asked the Prophet (PBUH), saying, “O Messenger of Allah! Which of the Muslims is better?” Allah’s Messenger (PBUH) said, “The one who does not harm the Muslims with his tongues and hands.” Moreover, the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said, “Whoever guards what is between his jaws and legs. I shall guarantee him paradise.”
There are many good things that we could use our tongues for like making dhikr (i.e. remembrance of Allah), asking Allah for forgiveness, reciting the Qur’an, enjoining what is right and forbidding what is wrong, giving advice, bringing peace between people and giving da`wah to Muslims and non-Muslims. Allah (SWT) says:
"...وقولوا للناس حسنا وأقيموا الصلاة..."
“And speak to people good [words] and establish prayer and give zakah."
Imam al-Qurtubi said, “A Muslim should be gentle while speaking to people. His face should be smiling to both the righteous ones as well as the defiantly disobedient ones, without being hypocritical. Allah, the Almighty, ordered Prophet Musa and Prophet Haroun (peace be upon them both) to speak gently to Pharaoh, saying:
"فقولا له قولا لينا لعله يتذكر أو يخشى."
“And speak to him with gentle speech that perhaps he may be reminded or fear [Allah]." Imam al-Qurtubi commented on the ayah saying, “There is no one who would speak gently to people who is not better than Prophets Musa and Haroun (peace be upon them both), and there is no bad person that we would ever talk to who is more wicked than Pharaoh; however Allah commanded Musa and Haroun to speak gently to him.
To conclude, Islam teaches us that we should think before we speak, and if you think there is good in what we want to say, then we say it; otherwise we should refrain from saying it. We are instructed to speak nicely to people. We will be held accountable for everything we say; therefore, we should take this matter seriously to avoid the punishment of Allah on the Day of Judgment and to attain His Pleasure and enter Jannah in the Hereafter. We should show gratitude to Allah, for the great bounty of speech by using it in Remembering Allah, reciting His word, giving da`wah to his deen and making reconciliation between people.

Stand As One Against Hate & White Supremacy: CAIR ALABAMA

Tuesday, August 15, over a hundred people gathered between 7 and 8 pm in Birmingham’s Linn Park to stand united against racism. Groups from many backgrounds, marched and chanted and listened to community members.  CAIR Alabama and BIS Member Khaula Hadeed addressed the crowd.  Here is what she said:

I Belong To America ! We Belong to America!


Dear family and friends, sisters and brothers, it is pure joy to be here with you right now that I wouldn't want to be anywhere else.

Saturday, when hundreds showed up to spew hate in Charlottesville, Virginia it was no ordinary day.

What we witnessed was a united terrifying stand that was bold, brazen, armed, and racist.

It was a show of strength to induce fear, to intimidate, and to drown out voices and white wash experiences of all our people that belong right here--of every color, creed, religion, ethnicity, sexual orientation that are part of the mosaic we call America.

Hatred must stop ! Bigotry must stop ! Racism must stop !

No matter what, we cannot allow the normalization of this kind of hatred and bigotry against people.

There is no moral equivalency between those that espouse and spout hate and those that protest in peace, or those who live in constant fear of intimidation and discrimination.

We need strong moral leadership ; our children need to grow up in an America in which there is safeguarding of dignity and of equal rights for all, regardless of the color of their skin, ethnic or religious background.

I am here today because I want to tell you about the America that I know.

I represent a community that knows ---this---as the real America.

We have seen hatred effect us first hand but we know the real America.

This America of ours that we know is full of acceptance, love, and respect.

It sees beyond black and white and judges a person by the strength of their moral character.

This America of ours is made of people that are resilient and dignified in the face of most trying challenges.

It stands up for the weak, that believes darkness can only be overcome by burning a candle.

The America that I know is a place that embraces differences as a badge of honor.

So sisters and brothers this is our call to action:

Let us say to those who are trying to sell us an America that we don't know; let us say to them that they are trying to sell us what our leaders fought to leave behind all these years ago, it is a loss cause and we aren't buying; let us say to them that we won't let a tragic history repeat itself.

Finally, I believe it is a moral obligation of our time and for my generation. If our elders can't bring us together, we must! If our leaders can't lead us to be a more united people, We Must!

Thank you for being here tonight.

In peace and solidarity!


An article about the event from

MY GROUP Girls Go to Airwark by Hala ein-Sabatto

MY Group Girls' program is starting back up for the fall semester! As a kickoff to the new school year, the girls went to Air Walk, a trampoline park. A group of nine girls went and had a great time. They challenged each other to a game of trampoline dodge ball, swung into pits of foam, and shot hoops off trampolines.
MYG-Girls events are open to all girls ages 14+. To stay in touch with our schedule and to be added to our listserv, you can sign-up here:

For any questions, comments, or suggestions you can email Sis Hala Sabatto at

MY GROUP Boys Summer Retreat by Rashid Almuntharee

Alhamdulillah, we had a great Summer Camp at the Alabama 4H Center. By the permission of Allah, the boys were able to accomplish the following: boxing skills, Brazilian Jujitsu skills, and archery. The mornings began with fajr and then physical conditioning, followed up with boxing. The afternoons were filled with soccer, canoeing, and a pontoon boat ride. At night we had the place to ourselves!

The primary focus of this was teaching the youth how to protect themselves spiritually and physically. Alhamdulillah the boys also learned the dua of Rasulullah when one exits the house: Bismillahi Tawakkaltu ala Allah wa laa hawla walaa quwwata illaa billaah.  "In the name of Allah I place my trust in Him and rely on Him. There is no might or movement except by Him. Whoever says this in the morning before leaving, the shaytaan says to the other devils "What can you do to a person who is guided and protected?" After teaching the boys the dua, I actually had a kid to come up me later to review the dua to make sure he learned it properly. The camp was successful. May Allah accept it and guide our youth. Ameen.

Minecraft 3D Animation Course by Ahmad Saad

The Minecraft 3D animation course was a six session course in which attendees learned the fundamentals of 3D animation.

The four participants applied what they learned by translating a short story they made up into an animated movie.  Held in BIS Hoover Crescent Islamic Center’s Conference Room, the course met twice a week for three weeks: July 20th till August 4th. Students used their own laptops, and a free software program called Blender for their work (see screenshot below for a sample).

Course instructor Ahmad Saad (6th grader), felt it was a great experience to work with young kids who are really eager to gain knowledge about this new and promising technology.

Screenshot 2017-08-17 17.14.00.png

Ladies Full Stretch Class Resumes by Sakeena Ahmed

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For over a year now, BIS has organized a ladies only "Full Stretch Class" at the Hoover Crescent Islamic Center on Thursday mornings. Mollie Erikson, a trained yoga instructor, has been teaching this class as a service to our community. The environment is relaxed and private. We charge a dollar per class which is collected and has been donated to Greater Birmingham Ministries to help the needy. We took a break this summer and plan to resume the classes starting August 24 (Thursdays) from 10:30 AM - 11:30 AM, insha'Allah. If any sisters have any questions about the class, please contact Sr. Sakeena (

Lecture Night

With Imam Sameh out of the country, Lecture Night has been continuing with various community members filling in at both HCIC and the Homewood Masjid.  Pizza follows and inshaAllah everyone benefits and enjoys the gathering.

The topic of Fahim Qazi's khutba (Hoover) and talk (Homewood) was "Rights of Non-Muslims in Islam". Verses of the Quran and hadeeth were used to show how much freedom is enjoyed by Jews, Christians, Hindus,  and other non-Muslims in Islam.  Quotations from famous historians were provided to show how non-Muslims have historically lived and thrived in Islamic lands. Both the khutba and talk were very well received by the community.

Brother Tariq Mango has yet to give his lecture, but plans to cover two topics.

The first one is giving the explanation of one Ayah (verse) ويوم يقوم الأشهاد (and the day upon which the witnesses will arise). And the second topic about the virtues of ten days of Dhul Hijjah.

Halal BBQ Food Truck Comes to HCIC

Br. Ali Mustaqeem, chef of United Cuisine Mobile Food, brought his halal BBQ food truck to the Hoover Crescent Islamic Center for our Friday night Family Dinner on August 11. He served zabiha beef ribs, jerk chicken, hot sausages, and hot dogs. He was visiting us from Michigan. It's rare to find zabiha halal meals in Birmingham. So we were excited to have him in town and take advantage of his service. Thank you to everyone who came out to support his business.


A Statement on Racism by Brother Ashfaq Taufique on behalf of BIS

In the words of Mother Teresa,  “Yesterday is gone. Tomorrow has not yet come. We have only today. Let us begin.” 
Let us begin today by first knowing that we are at war.  Not just the war of words and temper tantrums by the so-called leaders of the world.  It is a war of ideology, where the oppressors believe that they have the God-given right to oppress, hate, and justify bigotry by corrupted understanding of their faith.  
Racism is plaguing our world.  Racism is not driven by instinct, but it is a conscious decision everyone makes, to be a racist.  Racists are trained and brainwashed by their family values, or lack thereof, political leaders, teachers and yes, pulpit plays a vital role in their behavior.  
Our solidarity on this day reflects our upcoming victory against racism, bigotry and hate.  Let not our love and democratic process give any signal to the “alt right” that we are not capable of defending our rights.  
The Muslim community thanks those who left flowers at our center today with a note:
“I am outraged and paying attention, Love is louder. Let's keep shouting together”
Our shouts and solidarity today are going to reach beyond imagination.
Let us resolve that the next chapter of history will be written by us.

BIS Summer Camp by Eman Koupek

When asked to describe this year’s BIS Summer camp, our teen volunteer described it as “BUSY”. Every day was filled with fun activities that there was no way the campers could get bored. Domino’s, the theaters, McWane Science Center, and the Birmingham Zoo are only a few of the places that campers visited this summer.
At Domino’s, each camper was a chef for the day. They were able to toss their own pizza and top it to their own preference.
At McWane Science Center, not only were they able to play and have fun at the facility, it was also an educational experience. The Birmingham Zoo, I mean come on, it’s the zoo; it was like visiting the safari in Africa.
Alhamdulilah, the camp was successful and the campers were entertained and happy. Saying that, the camp was “fun-filled” does not even cover it. We are definitely excited and looking forward to next year’s camp!



CAIR-ALABAMA Participates in Birmingham Mayoral Candidates Forum by Ream Shoreibah & Khaula Hadeed

On July 27, CAIR-Alabama helped organize The People’s Birmingham Mayoral Candidates Forum at 16th Street Baptist Church. Candidates for Mayor of Birmingham shared their vision for a city that includes and values all people, discussed their plans to ensure access and inclusion, and listened to what various segments of the community had to say about its particular needs. The forum was organized by the Stand As One coalition, a coalition of faith, civic, and social justice organizations committed to a unified response to the urgent needs of the community.

After providing background on the rise in the number of hate crimes against Muslims in recent months, CAIR-Alabama’s Government Affairs Coordinator Ali Massoud asked the following question, on behalf of the Muslim community: “As Mayor, will you support an ordinance and work to create a climate that protects our Muslim community from threats, hate crimes, and hateful rhetoric?”  

For a video of Massoud’s full statement and the candidates’ responses, see:

CAIR-Alabama urges all U.S. citizens in the community to participate in the upcoming elections. Showing up at the polls in large numbers is the best way to ensure that elected officials pay attention to our community’s issues, regardless of the election results. Please contact our office at 205–531-7766 or for questions or assistance.

Upcoming 2017 election dates are as follows:

August 15, 2017: Special Primary Election — U.S. Senate
August 22, 2017: Birmingham Municipal Election
September 26, 2017: Special Primary Runoff Election — U.S. Senate
December 12, 2017: Special General Election — U.S. Senate


CAIR-Alabama calls for hate crime probe of vandalism targeting Alabama Muslim family

CAIR-Alabama Executive Director Khaula Hadeed discusses CAIR’s new app that can be used to report hate crimes
Download the app at

CAIR-Alabama Responds to Senate candidate Roy Moore’s description of Islam as ‘false religion’

CAIR-Alabama calls for an investigation and firing after Muslim family says bacon was stuffed into their sandwiches at McDonald’s

Pictures courtesy of Greater Birmingham Ministries:
CAIR-AL Government Affairs Coordinator Ali Massoud addressing the candidates. Photo courtesy of Greater Birmingham Ministries.jpg
Mayoral Forum. Photo courtesy of Greater Birmingham Ministries.jpg