Wednesday, November 29, 2017

A Message from Brother Ashfaq

Sometime ago, I was actively involved in the teaching of our Weekend Islamic School students. Once in the class I asked a question, “Why should we not consume drugs?”  I got diverse answers from the teenagers ranging from being against the law to bad for my health.  All the answers were correct, but we as Muslims have ignored our priorities.  The reason we do not consume drugs is because it violates our covenant with Allah, as Allah has forbidden intoxicants.  

We should make our covenant with Allah as the primary reason for evaluating all our thoughts and actions regarding all the matters of our lives.  The criteria for how good of a son, father, mother, sister, employee, employer, neighbor, I am being, is my adherence to the laws that Allah prescribes.  Without this core understanding, we are lost.  

Continuing my thoughts, I had voiced in my October 2017 article, I would like to propose a practical step towards our efforts to make us a better Muslim community.  

Inshaa Allah, I will convene a meeting with our Executive Committee and Imam to discuss the theme of the month, that will deal with our mannerisms (adaab, Akhlaq etc).  If agreeable, our khutbahs and lectures should be dealing with that issue for that month. Inshaa Allah we will make a dent in our society, and be the Muslims that can stand on the Day of Judgement with rewards in our bag of deeds.

Anyone in the community at large that wants to help me in this aspect, please contact me.

Dr. Wakar Uddin's Rohingya Crisis Presentations by Farook Chandiwala

The Birmingham Interfaith Human Rights Committee (BIHRC) joined hands with two other organizations, Peace and Justice Committee of the Universalist Unitarian (UU) Church and the Institute for Human Rights (IHR), to arrange a total of four programs locally featuring Dr. Wakar Uddin in the Birmingham area to discuss the Rohingya crisis.   

The first program was on Sunday, at 10 am with the children at the UU church, followed by an address to the church congregation.   

After that, 10 or so people met for a meeting for a newly formed group, called Refugee Interest Group, of which Br. Ashfaq Taufique and I are members, representing the Muslim community.  Dr. Uddin also spoke there for about 30 minutes about the Rohingya crisis; a lot of questions were asked and very ably answered by him.

The third program was on Sunday, Nov. 12 at Hoover Crescent Masjid at 6 pm.  Dr. Uddin made his excellent presentations via his well-prepared slides on the history of the Rohingya people, the details of the conflict, and the current desperate situation of the Rohingya people.  Though many of us have seen the pictures of the dire conditions of the Rohingya people in the news and social media, his slides were painful to watch.  A question/answer session followed, and pizza was served after Isha salaat.  The attendance was fair, around 50 people.  Since most Muslims do not want to come to other venues, HRC decided to bring the program to HCIC.  We wish more people would attend these programs in the future.

The fourth of this series in two days, was done at UAB at the Edge of Chaos.  This program was also attended by around 60 people, consisting of community members, and students from UAB.  Again, a similar slide presentation was made after which questions from the audience were answered very well by Dr. Uddin.  Light refreshments consisting of South Asian snacks and baklava were served for those who decided to stay behind and socialize.

The fourth of this series in two days, was done at UAB at the Edge of Chaos.  This program was also attended by around 60 people, consisting of community members, and students from UAB.  Again, a similar slide presentation was made after which questions from the audience were answered very well by Dr. Uddin.  Light refreshments consisting of South Asian snacks and baklava were served for those who decided to stay behind and socialize.

Dr. Wakar Uddin is himself of Rohingya origin.  After obtaining his Bachelor’s degree in Burma (now Myanmar), he finished his Master’s and Ph.D degrees in USA, and has been teaching at Penn State University in Pennsylvania.  He is also the director of the Arakan Rohingya Union, which comprises of over 60 Rohingya organizations located throughout the world.  He travels and lectures on this topic, has connected widely with the members of UN general assembly and security council, and has met and still meets with many heads of state, foreign ministers of various European and Muslim countries.  After this event, he went to the UK, Turkey and to attend a meeting of OIC (Organization of Islamic Cooperation) in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.

Lynda Wilson and Tina Kempin Reuter from These UU and IHR helped in not only arranging and facilitating the events, but also by donating substantial amounts of funds to help defray some of the expenses. They also were influential in sharing basic historical information about the Rohingya and encouraging people to help.  

UU posted on their social media streams the following: “Rohingya were there in the 7th Century. Arab missionaries, spice traders arrived in the 14th Century. There was no Burma but the Arakan Kingdom was there.  Burma invaded and conquered it in 1785. ‘Ethnic cleansing’ is used instead of the action-requiring ‘genocide.’ Burma basically turned Muslims in their country into undocumented people.  Over 2 million of a total 3 million people have been displaced. Currently a million are in camps, half of which are children. Thousands have died. The Burmese/Myanmar army/government is conducting a ONE-SIDED ‘clean up’--totally destroying villages.  Indiscriminate killing.  It's all documented. International pressure has affected some minimal improvement. But people can't harvest because of extremist violence. Dr. Uddin's group and others are quietly helping to get food and non-perishables to brave people who have stayed in the country. He emphasized 'to some' people. The congregational donations today go to the UUSC, which is contributing to the effort. Contributions can also be made to Dr. Uddin's group.”

The Human Rights Committee raises its funds through the sales of BIS calendars annually and uses these funds to invite guest speakers from outside Birmingham.  Over the years we have arranged several programs, such as talks on Afghanistan, Drone Wars, The White Helmets in Syria, the Zaatari Camp movie made by a local Muslim sister, Duniya Habash.  These programs are arranged at different locations at UAB, and local public libraries in Hoover and Vestavia.  Many of them were well attended, and a few sparsely attended.  Various films have been shown also, especially those made by UPF (Unity Productions Foundation).  We urge the Muslim community to help us by coming to these programs and help by spreading the word.  

We have a Facebook page, called Birmingham Interfaith Human Rights.  Br. Fayez (Vic) Saad has been video graphing these programs and is in the process of uploading them on the FB page.  You can also go to YouTube and then put Justice Now in the Search Engine, find J marked in a circle, and subscribe and watch the programs till such time as they are completely uploaded on the BIHRC FB page.  We hope you will spend some time on the FB page and YouTube site, and give us your feedback after watching some of our current and past videos.

Donations were solicited and a total amount of approximately $1700 was collected for the Rohingyas living inside Burma; Dr Uddin has a way of getting the money to them.

Prepared by Br. Farook Chandiwala

Chairperson, Birmingham Interfaith Human Rights Committee

A Large and Generous Crowd make CAIR-AL's Fundraiser a Success by Orooj Chandiwala

CAIR Alabama hosted its second annual fundraising banquet on November 5, 2017, at Haven.  Approximately 300 guests enjoyed the program and dinner catered by B&A Warehouse Catering.  
Khaula Hadeed, CAIR-AL executive director, spoke about the growth of CAIR-AL over the past two years.  She remembered a time when an Alabama chapter of CAIR was just a fledgling idea.  Over the past two years they’ve succeeded at establishing a media presence and defending victims of hate crimes all over the state.  Nihad Awad, CAIR National Executive Director, spoke about the rising incidence of hate crimes against Muslims, but also the unprecedented solidarity Muslims have experienced at airports and mosques.  He ended his speech with an inspirational message:  If you want to see the change for a positive Muslim image, get involved.
This year the Building Bridges Interfaith Leadership Award was given to two recipients, Dr. Mahmood Zaied of Montgomery, AL, and Aladin Beshir of Huntsville, AL.  Dr. Zaied worked tirelessly to obtain approval by his local Homeowner’s Association to build a mosque, often knocking on doors to meet with dissenters personally.  His efforts paid off and the construction of the mosque was approved.  Mr. Beshir spent decades promoting positive interfaith relationships.  He is the Director of Outreach for the Huntsville Islamic Center.  He is a long standing board member of the International Society of Huntsville, an organization that broadens awareness of diverse cultures through cultural, educational, and social programming.  His real passion, however, is serving as President of Interfaith Mission Services.  Interfaith Mission Services is a co-op of forty religious institutions who work together to promote social justice, create interfaith dialogue, provide direct service to those in immediate need, and address racial inequalities and cultural barriers.  Khaula Hadeed was then presented with a surprise gift and donation to CAIR from King Simmons Law Firm - a framed photograph of Mohammad Ali’s famous knockout punch against Sonny Liston to represent the ongoing fight for justice.
Hassan Shibly, CAIR-FL Executive Director, conducted the fundraising.  CAIR-AL Board of Directors got the ball rolling with a $30,000 donation.  Several organizations subsequently joined in, including Birmingham Islamic Society ($10K), Madison Islamic Masjid ($10K), Gadsden Islamic Society ($10K), Huntsville Islamic Center ($10K), Anniston Islamic Center($11K), and The Association of Physicians of Pakistani Descent of North America ($5K).  Individual contributions totaled over $70,000.  Thanks to inspirational speakers, Shibly’s dynamic fundraising, and the generosity of donors, the evening raised over $150,000!  
The evening concluded with a speech by the guest speaker, Linda Sarsour, Co-Founder of MPower Change and Co-Chair of Women’s March National.  Sarsour came to “tell like it like it is” as an “unapologetically Muslim-American, Palestinian-American, from Brooklyn, NY.”  She presented a realistic view of modern white privilege, Islamophobia, racism, and misogyny.  She reminded us of our history of segregation and Japanese internment, and asked us to never allow these things to happen again.  Her ultimate message was one of hope – hope for a positive future if we all participate in the ongoing fight for justice by not being bystanders during difficult times.

Dr. Zoghby's Speech on the Arab World by Ashfaq Taufique

The Palestinian and Israeli conflict in the Middle East is so often the heart of international politics.  The mainstream American population continues to be ignorant of the historical roots of the conflict, and are easily swayed by the political pundits in favor of Israel.  Time after time the Palestinians become the victims of this bias information.
To combat the ignorance, Birmingham Islamic Society in partnership with the Institute of Human Rights invited a renowned scholar, Dr. James Zoghby on November 14, 2017 at the UAB Alumni House.  The topic of the lecture was “What You Don't Know (But Need To Know) About the Arab World Today”.
The lecture was very well attended and captured the attention of the audience.  Dr. Zoghby attributed the failure of our foreign policy in that part of the world, to the fact that we engage in wars without knowing the culture, rules of engagement, or the commitment needed.  Unfortunately, we continue to pour dollars, human life and political capital without having a clue.  This lack of education, popular media, and political culture has led to where we are in that part of the world.
For those who missed the lecture here is the link to Dr. Zoghby’s speech:

IAA Humanitarian Club Tidies Up the Muslim Cemetery by Jenan Abdein

On November 11th, 2017, the IAA Humanitarian Club, volunteering students, and parents pursued their Islamic responsibility by cleaning up Birmingham’s Muslim Garden Cemetery.

About 30 people gathered for three hours to cut and clear out overgrown tree branches, pull and clear out leaves, add rocks where needed, and pick up any trash.  

The IAA Humanitarian Club brings together students who strive to positively impact our local community through selfless acts of kindness, such as visiting elderly homes, raising money for local charities, and cleaning the school campus.  The club encourages global citizenship and leadership through random acts of kindness. The school and club work with the belief that, “Together, we can work towards positive change through awareness, focused outreach activities, and dedicated community service.”

The Islamic cemetery, called Muslim Garden, is contained within the Oakland Cemetery in Ensley, which is located at 1230 Warrior Road, Ensley, AL 35218. The entire 500 plot area, owned by BIS is fenced, and bushes are planted on the periphery to create a natural separation from the rest of the cemetery.

Interfaith Friendship Story Walk by Sakeena Ahmed

On Sunday morning, November 19, BIS along with the N.E. Miles Jewish Day School and the Birmingham Jewish Federation’s PJ library, organized a story walk for children ages 5 and under with their families at the N.E. Miles Jewish Day School. It was a beautiful effort to collaborate with community members who may not otherwise have met. Approximately 30 families, including over 40 children participated in this event. Muslim, Jewish, and Christian families met, chatted, and enjoyed watching their children play together. Despite their religious differences, families came together for a morning of fellowship and making connections.

A story walk is when pages of a book are transformed into signs that are then laid out on a trail inviting families to follow the path of the pages. This may also involve other activities, games and stations along the way. The book chosen for our story walk was Do Unto Otters: A Book About Manners by Laurie Keller. There were five stations for the story walk: (1) music station, (2) snack station, (3) donate a canned good for the needy station, (4) friendship bracelet craft, and (5) decorate a banner and free play station. The children enjoyed the activities and families were overheard saying they would love to see more such events planned in the future.

MY Group Boys Wrap up Another Successful Year by Rashid Almuntharee

Alhamdulillah, we have had a very busy and successful year with continued projects, as well as new additions.
As it relates to the continued projects, we recently completed our Annual MY Group 3 on 3  Basketball Tournament.  The winners were Salaam Qashou, Muadh Sabahi, and Muhammad Ashour.
We also had our Annual Iron Bowl Tailgate party on Saturday, November 25th at HCIC.
Over the past two years MY Group boys have consistently delivered food backpacks to children in the Hoover School system. Alhamdulillah, in our third year we have expanded and are now delivering to Hayes Elementary School in Birmingham. Our youth single handedly maintained an entire school by themselves for two years. They have grown and shown outstanding leadership, and I am honored to be a witness and aid in their greatness. I am expecting more great things from them and even more great things from the MY Group Juniors insha'Allah.

Thoughts on Organ Donation by Dr. Esraa Eloseily

It’s a story that can affect each and every one of us. Most of us know of a friend or even a family member who either had or is waiting to have an organ transplant. Being on the waitlist for an organ transplant is daunting, both for the patient and their family.

The aim of this article is not to discuss the scholarly opinions, but to raise awareness about such an important topic. Organ donation is considered to many as a religious generosity for which a Muslim would be rewarded from Allah, a duty that we owe to our fellow ill human beings. In Islam, saving one life is equated to saving the whole mankind. Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) told us: “Whosoever of you can render any benefit to his brother should do so.” No benefit can be considered greater than saving someone’s life by giving him the gift of an organ or tissue donation. This is not only considered as a charitable act but also as a sadaqah jariyah (ongoing charity) from which the donor will continue to reap rewards after his/her own death, so long as the donated organ continues to function in the body of another human being.”
Of course it’s a personal choice and if anyone is feeling doubtful about it, he or she should seek advice from a scholar that he trusts.

Organ donation is divided into two main types. Living donation is received from a living donor; this is the case with liver and kidney donations. A normal person can survive and be healthy with only one kidney and a part of a liver. This type of donation doesn’t only save the life of the recipient but also the next person on the deceased organ waiting list.

The other type is the deceased organ donation which is giving an organ or tissue at the time of the donor’s death. An individual may be able to donate organs, tissues or eyes even if he or she is not eligible to donate blood. Transplantation is a medically acceptable treatment for end-stage organ failure and post-transplant survival rates continue to improve.

More than 116,900 people are waiting for an organ transplant in the United States. A new person is added to the waiting list every 18 minutes. People frequently die while waiting for a suitable organ to be available.

If you want to be an organ donor, it is important to have a conversation with your family about your donation wishes because this makes it easier for them at the time of death. You should also indicate your wishes on Legacy Organ & Tissue Donation Registry. When you register as an organ donor, you can choose which organs and or tissues you would like to donate. You can always withdraw or change your choices online anytime.

It’s also important to know that organ and tissue donation does not prevent a family from proceeding with desired funeral arrangements. While the time of loss can be very hard for the family, organ and tissue donation is considered as a positive experience by many. Families find resolve that a life-saving operation came out of the tragedy; a part of their beloved one still lives and helps another fellow human being to survive.

To conclude, the practice of organ donation is thought to be congruent with the Islamic principles that are universal and humanitarian. These principles include rahmah i.e. to show compassion, helping one another, and making continual (jariah) charity. It should always be a personal choice and family members should be informed about it.

Esraa Eloseily, MD, MRCPCH
Consultant of pediatric rheumatology
Assiut University Children Hospital

Assiut, Egypt

Saturday, November 4, 2017

We Must Get Out Of Our Cocoons: A Message from Brother Ashfaq

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

We, the 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 internal working 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, a “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 how our votes indeed were 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.  

The upcoming US Special Senate Elections on December 12, provides the challenge and opportunity to make a difference.  The first and the foremost thing to do is to make sure that you are registered to vote and know your polling station.  Inshaa Allah, CAIR-AL is committed to help with voter registration at all of our three Masajid every Friday in November.  Here are the important resources you may need to fulfill our civic duty.

Anyone who turns 18 by December 12, 2017 can register to vote.

Election Date: December 12, 2017
Voter Registration Deadline: November 27, 2017
Democrat: Doug Jones, Former US attorney
Republican: Roy Moore, Former Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice

Download the PDF form here. Sister Sakeena can you create a hyperlink to the PDF form

Nearly 100 People Seen by Volunteer Physicians at BIS Fall Festival by Adil Patel

The Fall Festival on October 7, 2017 at the Hoover Crescent Islamic Center was filled with people of all walks of life engaging in fun and health care.

A collaborative effort by the Birmingham Islamic Society (BIS), Association of Physicians of Pakistani-descent in North America (APPNA), and the Red Crescent Clinic of Alabama (RCCA), the health fair hosted rides and delicious food in the parking lot, while the inside of HCIC was filled with a hustle and bustle of physicians and patients.
The Fall Festival ran from 12-4 pm. Services included: flu shots, labs, vision tests, and screenings by physicians. In total there were seven physicians, and over 23 volunteers working. There were over 93 patients that were able to be seen in that four hour period. As well as providing 42 biometric, cholesterol, and glucose screenings, 75 flu shots were given.
When asked about general thoughts about the event Dr. Zakir Khan, the RCCA Medical Director, said, “Most importantly we identified gaps in people’s healthcare, and set them up with our clinic to provide ongoing primary care.”  
The health fair had publicity in the larger Birmingham area as the local WBRC Fox 6 news covered the event.  There was also a visit from Frank Brocato, the mayor of Hoover, who stopped by to see how the event was doing. The volunteers took him through the whole clinic and even demonstrated how quick and easy it is to get some simple tests and checks done.

Every year HCIC hosts the health fair, this is now the fifth year RCCA and the Alabama chapter of APPNA has held it at the mosque.   The Fall Festival was open to everyone regardless of religious affiliation.


BIS Youth Essay Competition Winners and their Essays

Birmingham Islamic Society held an essay competition for students in elementary, middle, and high school and the winners were announced at the annual Family Fun Night Celebration on Tuesday, October, 31.  

The topics for the groups varied with elementary writing about, “Prophet Muhammed, My Role Model,” middle school students addressing, “Our Responsibility as Muslims towards the Environment,” and high schoolers tackling the complex topic of, “What is it like to be a Muslim Youth in Today’s Climate, and How Can You Positively Promote Islam and Islamic Values in America Today.”

The essays were to be submitted electronically by midnight on the 27th and were not to exceed 2.000 words.  Judging criteria was broken down into creativity (30%), structure (20%), adherence to topic (30%), grammar (10%), and length (10%).

The winners were announced after Isha and the recipients received cash awards.
Yusuf Nabi 1st
Abdulrahman Asal 2nd
Mirfaizan Iqbal  3rd


Waasay M Hamid 1st
Aliza Khan 2nd
Ahmad Musaab Khan 3rd

High School

Raafay M Hamid 1st
Rizwan Khan 2nd
Janna Jaber 3rd

My Role Model, Prophet Muhammad (SAW)
By Yusuf Nabi (age 8)

The reason my role model is prophet Muhammad (saw) is because he is kind and nice.  Also because his nickname is As-Sadiq and Al-Ameen which means the Trustworthy and the Truthful.  He is an example for me to try and always be like him.  

In his hadeeth he says who ever learns Quran and teaches it, is the best among us.  He was a messenger of Allah (swt) and wanted to teach every body it.  As our Prophet and my role model, I look up to him and it makes me want to read more Quran.  

Abdullah Ibn Othman At-Tayiyy was prophet Muhammad's best friend.  He was always there for the Prophet.  Prophet Muhammad went through tough times.  Especially when his uncle and wife passed away. That year was called the year of sadness or sorrow.  It is a reminder how to be a good friend and how to act in tough times.

Allah (swt) gave Muhammad (saw) a gift. It was Al-Israa Wal-miraj.  Its when prophet Muhammad went to Jerusalem to As-Sindratal Muntaha.  As-Sindratal Muntaha is a big tree.  On every leaf there is an angel praising Allah.  It makes me remember that Allah (swt) also gives me gifts after hard times, and that I need to praise him.

After Muhammad (saw) went to Madinah they won the Battle of Badr but lost the battle of Uhud. They lost because the archers didn’t follow instructions. They also won the second Battle of Badr and also won the Battle of the Trench.  If even the Prophet didn’t always win, I too need to remember that sometimes you win and sometimes you don’t.  I also work hard to always follow instructions. 

After Prophet Muhammad (saw) died Abu Bakr As-Sideeq became the muslim khaleefah. Then Omar Bin Al-Khatab became the khaleefah, then Uthman Bin Affan, then finally Ali Ibn Abi Talib was the last khaleefah.  RasullaAllah surrounded himself with good people and I want to do this too.  

InshaAllah I will try, in everything I do, to be like Prophet Muhammad (saw).

‏Abdulrahman Asal
4th Grade, Bluff Park Elementary School
DOB: 9/3/2007
Essay: Prophet Muhammad (SAW), My Role Model

Muhammad (SAW) is my role model because he showed us the correct Muslim way. He also taught us to worship Allah alone. This is mentioned in Surat 112. He is also my role model because he tells us how we should treat other people, regardless of their race or religion. He taught us about the importance of life, and the way to do many things such as, saying bismillah before we eat, and eating with our right hand.
Muhammad (SAW) was born an orphan. Before the age of 8 both his parents were dead. Even though Muhammad (SAW) lost many beloved people during his young years he still never stopped showing his respect and kindness to the people, no matter what religion.
Muhammad (SAW) was very generous. He donated various amounts of money to anyone who was poor or was in need of something. He was also an advisor about many problems in the pre-Islamic era, such as, who should place the black stone during the rebuilding of the Ka’ba, during the treaty of Hudaibya, and the charter of Madinah.
He was trusted by the people in the pre-Islamic era, because he never told lies. He was called Al-Amin (the trustworthy) and As-Sadiq (the truthful). Also during prophet Muhammad (SAW)'s young life, a rich woman named Khadijah hired Muhammad (S) to go to do business in Syria and bring her the money. She also sent one of her slaves to go with him to Syria. When they came back, her slave told her how Muhammad (SAW) was a very honest and trustworthy man, and how he brought her all the money without taking any of it. When she heard this she was deeply impressed, and she decided to marry Muhammad (SAW)He was 25, and she was 40.
Muhammad (SAW) was a model of modesty. He never embarrassed anyone and was only angry when Allah’s laws were violated. He never swore at anyone. He also had a sense of humor that was not vulgar. He never spoke loudly or in a bad manner. He was also the messenger of Allah. He never gave up trying to spread the message of Islam, no matter what it cost him.
Muhammad (SAW) was considerate because in one of his salahs, he intended to prolong the salah, but then he heard a baby crying and the longer the salah continued the longer the baby would cry and distract it’s mother from salah. So the Prophet (SAW) shortened the salah.
Also, Prophet Muhammed was brave, and he fought in the cause of Allah to defend Islam along with Muslims. He fought some battles, like the battle of Badr, and the battle of Uhud and the battle of the Trench.
He was always modest and shy. He was kindhearted and never acted harsh or threatening to anyone. He accompanied children in their play and give gifts to the child who arrived at him first. Even In the most angering situations he kept calm and dealt with it with respect. He never cheated anyone. He instructed people to leave gambling and people from each drinking alcohol, beer, and wine. Though most of the people he tried to teach about Islam were ignorant, he kept on teaching them, with the fear of them going to hellfire. Muhammad (SAW) was compassionate, kind, loyal, generous. Today we should follow Muhammad (SAW)'s teachings in our daily life. All of them benefit us in a unique way.

Name: Mirfaizan Iqbal
Age: 9
Title: Prophet Muhammad, my role model

Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) is my role model, because he set the best example in
leadership. He was very kind, humble ,and  did a lot of sacrifices for his people. He is also my role model
because he was close to Allah and never disobeyed .Everything he did was according to Quran, his daily
life and everything he did was according to the teaching of Quran. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) was full
of countless examples, good habits, gentle and rich with heart. He loved children, especially orphan kids.
When Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) used to pass by young children, they would gather round to greet
Him. The prophet would pass his hand over the cheek of every child making sure not to exclude any of
Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) was a truthful man; even his enemies knew he was an
honest man, He was a humble man, he never differentiated between people, and He went   through so
many difficultiesBut he never gave up, his use to thank Allah for everything that happened either good or
bad.The prophet acquired great wealth but did not hold on to if for himself, instead he gave it to the poor ,
needy. He always visited sick, even if they were his enemies. Prophet Muhammad ate with his people
shared the same bread and drank from the same flask, and when his people went hungry, he starved too.

The prophet Muhammad (pbuh) was sent as a teacher and role model for all of the mankind, he had the
best personality, characteristics, and morals. I really want to be like him..INSHALLAH.
We should say that prophet Muhammad (pbuh) is the best ever role model in the the whole world.
We should also pray to Allah (swt) to make us like him and grant us to paradise. AMEEN.

Waasay M Hamid
Middle School
12 years

Our Responsibility, As Muslims Towards Environment

Islam is not a religion to be preached but rather a way of life. Allah (SWT) has put us on this earth to not only to worship Him but also to live and enjoy his creations. Our environment is an essential part of our lives and thus it is important to understand and realize our responsibility both as humans on this planet and more importantly as Muslims. An essential requirement of being a Muslim in addition to all other things is being respectful and considerate of his surroundings. Muslims believe that Allah is the source of all their provisions and at the day of judgement they will be answerable to how they they used these provisions such as air, water, livestock and plants.
Muslims have to treat the environment with care and respect. When Khalid ibn Walid was about to go to war, Abu Bakr (RA), the caliph at that time gave him some explicit instructions. He told him to not hurt a single tree or animal, but only the enemies of Islam. By this, we can infer that the muslim society really cared about the environment. Abu Bakr wanted to protect the earth and all it contained that Allah had provided to humans. Planting trees for shade and fruits is always equated with a significant good deed that keeps giving even after the person who planted them is living no more.
The prophet had a high regard for the environment. He said,  “The world is beautiful and verdant, and verily God, be He exalted, has made you His stewards in it, and He sees how you acquit yourselves.” (Muslim). Environment is an important part of a muslim’s life. One of the most important things concerning environment is cleanliness. The prophet says “Cleanliness is half of Muslim belief”. Muslims should always try to avoid polluting or dirty a city in order to get wordley benefits. The quran also says that we must keep everything we have clean, neat, and organized. Infact, we must pray in a clean place, and make sure that we ourselves are clean, or else our prayer won’t count. Although cleanliness is an important aspect of every Muslim act, excessive use of water is considered a grave sin in Islam. Muslims must practice being conserving when it comes to use of water. Some of the other examples of clear Islamic directives in being resourceful is the concept of reuse and recycle to have as little an impact of environment as possible. This concept is now widely used around the world to reduce waste.
Taking care of animals is also exemplified in Islam. There is a Hadith about a woman who was not pious but ended in going to jannah merely by providing water to a thirsty dog. Importance to animals is islam is also evident by the fact that a number of surahs in quran are named after insects and birds.
Unfortunately, Islamic education for us American youth is mostly focussed on getting us to memorize verses of the quran, learning about  our islamic history, memorizing hadiths and so on. Very little emphasis is actually put on how we can implement the islamic values in our day to day lives. Our environment is something that is a part and parcel of our lives and thus it is important that we understand there are a lot of ways we can take care of the environment around us.

Aliza Khan
8th grade

What is our responsibility, as Muslim Towards the Environment?

    We as muslims have many responsibilities towards environment. The Holy Quran, in many verses addresses that people are responsible for their own deeds and will be credited for what they did. To establish a good society begins with an individual. Some of our responsibilities as Muslim towards the environment are to keep the Earth clean, pick up trash, and plant for future generations. We could plant trees for future generations because it will take the trees so long to grow and we might not be able to see it.  The Prophet Muhammad said that if one plants a tree then whatever is eaten from it by humans or animals counts as a act of charity for the planter.   Some of these responsibilities are things we should do daily for example pick up trash, water the plants, help our neighbors and other good deeds. If we all did at least one of these things we could keep the Earth so much cleaner. Allah tells us in the Quran that not only do we have responsibilities to take care of the Earth but we have to take care of everything he has created. We have responsibilities towards other creations like humans and animals. Allah (SWT) says "And do not insult one another nor call each other by offensive names" 49:11, which means do not insult other people or call them names. Anything and everything Allah has created is our responsibility and it is our job to make sure that we put a good example of muslims out there and do not make our religion or Allah's creations look bad. We could help keep the Masjids clean, donate money, help homeless people get shelter so there is less homeless people on the streets and make the world a cleaner place. If we all did at least one small act of kindness everyday and made efforts to stop littering, throwing cigarettes on the floor, driving by homeless people and not doing anything for them, letting plants die, not feed the birds or take care of our animals, keep public areas clean and pick up trash from everywhere we would have such a better environment. Not only are these nice things to do but it is our job to keep the Earth clean. Allah has created all this for us so we can be thankful for it and we can show him we are thankful for it by keeping his creations clean and doing our good deeds. These are some of the things that I think we can do to show that we as muslims have responsibilities that we have to do to have a good environment for us and the future generations.


Our Responsibility as Muslim toward Environment

Ahmad Musaab Khan                                                                                                          
8th Grade, Age:14

Muslim means one who surrender his life to almighty Allah by the way of Prophet Muhammad. It’s based on firm faith on One God and hereafter. The environment of the earth and universe has given us by the almighty to testify us. Our father Adam PBUH was in heaven and sent down to the earth to see how he behaves in the earth and to get back to the heaven.
Human attitudes towards environment is ignorance. Pollution and global warmings are some of the many things that we should try to change. Earth is a place where we live with trees, rivers, mountains. We should keep this earth free from pollution. Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, encouraged to plant trees. Trees are essential to maintain the echo system making the earth a livable place. Trees provides oxygen, and takes carbon dioxide as its food. If we cut trees, what is going to happen? One effect can be a scarcity of food. Without trees, rivers, mountains, birds and animals the whole ecosystem of the universe would be thrown off balance.
Things that destroying trees are pollution. Pollution is growing and causing harms not only to plants also animals, and human. Pollution changes environment. It can make the necessities for your body harmful. Our life and morals are ruled by the commandments of almighty Allah and the way of the prophet. We are dependent on the treasures of Allah. But we see people are crazy for the easy gain of the worldly affair out of greed especially in the philosophy of capitalism. Greedy peoples are in every corner, sparking signs and streetlights blot out the stars.
To fix the problem, I thought it is the ill behavior of the human activity. We cannot continue with our wrong way of life. All revelations urged to follow the path of the guided personalities. Environment influences the human life, but majority of people don't care about the environment any more. In the era of information technology people are well learned, it has impact on our nature and environment. It’s not that if we go back to our old lifestyle, the earth would be saved, this is not possible anymore. There are ways to make our modern lifestyle coexist with the environment.
All Muslims who have firm faith on Allah and hereafter he never despairs always he’s with hope and aspiration, he sees light in the dark, but he’s strict to follow the way of prophet Muhammad PBUH. Prophet Muhammad (SAWS) PBUH and his companions are conscious about the environment. Prophet Muhammad advised to plant and Abu Baqar forbidden to cut trees.
In conclusion, we as Muslims have to take care of our environment, we have to organize our community as Muslim. We must come forward to save our environment and make it better. Most of the people around the world don’t care about the environment anymore. It is stated by prophet Muhammad that to plant trees, and also it has been forbidden to cut down trees by Aby Baqar.
Raafay M Hamid
Age: 15
High School
27 October 2017

What Is It Like to Be a Muslim Youth in Today’s Climate, And How Can You Positively Promote Islam and Islamic Values in Today’s America

I am going to start this essay by confessing that the so-called “today’s climate” is probably the best thing that could have happened to Muslims. Let me explain. I deliberately use the word Muslims rather than Islam, to explicitly distinguish the two. Islam is a way of life prescribed by Glorious Allah (SWT) and exemplified and personified in real time by HIS messenger prophet Muhammad (PBUH). Islam governs the entire spectrum of ones being - be it spiritual, political, or socio-economic. On the other hand, a Muslim, irrespective of who he or she is, and where they are from, is someone who adopts this way of life. It is thus very important to understand and acknowledge that Muslims may be wrong but Islam can’t. Indeed, Islam as a religion is the only religion that has withstood the test of time and scrutiny for over 1400 years. Today’s Muslim youth thus carry an immense responsibility of not only exemplifying being a Muslim but also making sure that this legacy keeps being carried forward. To make things even more complex, recent happenings all around the world have not only made this mission difficult but also a matter of identity for today’s youth.
For most of the youth, it may be difficult to be a Muslim in today’s society. Most people in America don’t know what true Muslims are, and the only knowledge of Islam they have is through the news. Also because of recent terrorist acts, a lot of Americans think that Islam is a religion that is all about violent actions and hurting others. As the Muslim youth, we have to convince people that Islam isn’t a violent religion, but a peaceful one. It is our job to change the mindset of many Americans, and enlighten them about Islam. As is mandated by our religion it is the duty of us all to be the ambassadors of our faith. We the youth have an opportunity to change the mindset of people by promoting the concept of love, respect, and service rather than perpetuating the idea of being rigid, fundamentalist, and unjust. This can only be done if we enable out youth with an understanding and love of their own religion in the first place before expecting them to go and change the world. Most of what we know about our religion comes from two main sources, and unfortunately for today’s youth these sources don’t seem to match their culture and way of life. The first source is of course the home; it is a fact that most if not all youth in United States currently are likely either second or third generation Americans. Our parents are trying to raise us as like they were raised according to the culture and traditions of their native places. This is an issue given the fact they these traditions may not be prevalent in America and thus create a conflict in our mind. Given the current climate of hatred and bitterness against Muslims, it thus seems safer to hide our identity rather than go and embrace it. Second source of knowledge is our community, primarily Mosques and Islamic centers. Again the emphasis as is in these places is given more to religious priorities rather than preparing our youth to be ready to represent Islam in true sense. It might not be exaggerated to say that most of us can barely defend our own religion leave alone explaining it to others. Given the current environment of fear and harassment, it thus seems safer to avoid getting noticed. The elders and the leaders of our community need to take a good look at the programs and the activities at these places that will make Islam more attractive and important to youth.
The Muslim youth may be embarrassed to have an identity. They are afraid of what will happen if everyone knows that they are Muslim. Instead of being embarrassed, we should take pride in our religion. Instead of trying to hide our identity, we should be trying to help others understand our religion. A duty of all Muslims is to spread the message of Islam to everyone, as Prophet Muhammad did during his time. During Prophet Muhammad’s time (PBUH), he sent missionaries to places to teach the foreigners about Islam. The prophet himself would travel to places to spread the message of Islam. All the prophets put on this earth’s primary duty was to spread Islam, and share the teachings of Islam. After Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) died, it was the responsibility of the Ummah to spread Islam. There are also a lot of hadith and verses in the Quran that talk about spreading the message of Islam. In Surah 16 (An - Nahl), it says, “call to the way of your lord with wisdom and good preaching” (Verse 125). In surah 41 (Al - Fussilat), it says, “Who is better in speech than one who calls to Allah, does righteous deeds and says indeed I am among the Muslims” (Verse 33). There are also some hadith that talk about the importance and significance of dawah. The prophet says, “Whoever directs someone to do good will gain the same reward as the one who does good” Another hadith says, "For Allah to guide someone by your hand is better for you than having red camel” (Camels were very valuable during this time, especially camels with a reddish tint.) All of these quotes talk about the importance of dawah, and why we as Muslims should do dawah. There are many ways a Muslim youth can positively promote Islam and its values. We could write a presentation for school about Islam, talk about what Islam is, and what are some of the things a Muslim should do. We can write a paper, or a part in a newspaper or even a small book about Islam or hand out flyers to people in public that says the important things about Islam. We can even organize a small event for people, and help them understand and learn more about Islam. We could use the internet and create a website talking about Islam and its values and answer questions that people have on the internet by responding to them. Over and above everything the way we act is an important way of doing just this. We essentially are a walking advertisement for Islam. Others will look at us and our actions and see what Islam teaches. It is important to be kind and polite to everyone. If we do this, others will think that Islam teaches about good morals. This is why it’s always important to act good in public. Most people will judge us and our religion based on how we act.
Fortunately, the best outcome that could have resulted from all this negative attention and focus on Islam is that we Muslims are being forced to transform ourselves for good and learn about our religion. It is indeed a high time to involve our youth in this transformation so that they can positively influence humanity for generations to come.


Rizwan Khan
High School Age: 16
Birmingham Islamic Society
October 26, 2017
Being a Muslim Youth in Today’s Climate
Being a Muslim youth in today’s climate can be difficult at times but usually is not impossible to deal with. I could act in a manner that avoids different types of adversities and allows me to remain on the straight path. A simple action like being kind to someone else reflects Islamic values onto others which helps promote positive values of Islam in general. Overall, life is not difficult as a Muslim teenager and I can positively influence many others using Islamic values.
Today’s social climate provides many obstacles in attempting to stay on the right path, but Allah (SWT) has given us a lot of opportunities which we can take advantage of to stay away from temptations. Instead of performing an act that would seem unsound, I could reasonably do something else that would take my mind off the other option and keep me on the straight path. For example, I could play Soccer or Basketball with my cousins instead of doing other immoral things. Additionally, another obstacle that teenagers in the past had to deal with includes not knowing whether or not they could do specific actions. With the current climate, I can lookup questions that I have regarding Islam on my smartphone or mobile device which is convenient and reliable with today’s resources. There are a few people in the United States that might impose adversities onto Muslims and Muslim teenagers but all you have to do is ignore them. You can ignore them because what matters most is that you know is right from wrong. Not only that but the current political climate adds to the hatred that Muslim teenagers receive, but once again all that matters is that we know the truth. Life as a Muslim teenager in today’s climate can be difficult but Allah (SWT) has provided us the tools to bypass the temptations and to stay on the right path.
A few in America judge many Muslims and apply false stereotypes, but a simple action can completely change their views of Muslims and Muslim youth. I could cheer up a friend when they are having a bad day or simply donate to the poor to change the views that many have of Muslims for the better. I could pick up trash on the sidewalk and properly dispose of it to clean up the environment. I could volunteer at a library or another organization which would help me contribute to the community as a whole. Islam talks about helping others that need help, and I could perform any action that helps someone else in a positive manner to promote Islamic values. Allah (SWT) has made it that simple. Any action performed that gives off a positive results invokes Islamic values. Another thing that I do to give off positive Islamic values is behave in a respectful and responsible way. A Muslim teenager’s manners contributes a lot to his or her outlook from the community. Not being rowdy plays a huge role in giving off positive Islamic values. All of this is great, but one needs to be a practicing Muslim teenager to gain the respect that he or she deserves in society. Being a practicing Muslim and having good manners makes the perfect combination to positively promote Islamic values.
Life will be difficult at times but the current climate provides tools for me to ease my path as a Muslim youth. I can avoid the obstacles by acting and behaving well which also promotes positive Islamic values in America today. Overall, Allah (SWT) has made it really simple to live life in this current climate and affect others in positive ways.


Janna Jaber
17 years old
The Impact On The Muslim Youth Today

In today's world, the Muslim youth’s mental and spiritual stability has weakened due to its surroundings such as the never ending impact of social media, new terrorist organizations forming, and the feeling that you need to live up to the standards placed on you by society.
Young muslims are influenced on a daily basis based on some types of social medias like Snapchat, instagram, twitter, and facebook. With all these social media apps, you find yourself intrigued with the newest fashion trends, whether or not the’re modest for Muslim girls, the latest drama in celebrities and idols, and many other types of distractions that are unneeded. This is weakening us mentally by reducing our stability to function without using our digital devices to find out the latest news feed, which is irrelevant compared to using any type of technology to further our knowledge on our religion. Us young muslims are thriving to be part of this world instead of thriving for the after life. We see the riches of society, yet turn a blind eye towards the gifts we would be rewarded after we’re gone.
Another socially and worldly problem that the Muslim Youth faces is the forming of new terrorist organizations. These organizations are disrupting the image of what a true muslim is. They ignite fear in people’s hearts, young and old, and show no mercy like the Prophet (SAW) taught us. They spread a hateful type of religion, and it is not Islam. They have created Islamophobia, which stands for those that have a phobia, to not only the religion Islam, but to all muslims. It can be difficult to fit in if you’re portrayed by extremist groups as a terrorist who terrorizes people due to them not being part of your religion or not following the same principles that you decided were the right to follow.
The last major factor that is affecting the Muslim youth is the need to live up to standards that do not represent who we are. The latest fashion trends for example are not representing hijabi’s as ‘modest’ girls, but as the new trend that everyone should follow to try and fit in. Other standards are being part of social groups such as LGBTQ and PRIDE. These two groups are based Gay organizations, which go against our teachings/religion. We feel the need to be apart if these groups so not to be called a “hater” or an “intolerant”.  We do not want to be seen as terrorists, therefore we join the wrong types of groups to try and fix our image. Yet, we are going about it the wrong way.
Society is disrupting the image of what a Muslim should be and all the factors that make up a Muslim. While we try to live to the standards of society, we are losing who we truly are. Whether it's our fault or someone's else's, Muslims are not the same in today's world like they were years ago due to the negative impact from everything surrounding us.