Friday, June 14, 2013

An Excellent New Translation of a Classic Shafi'i Fiqh Primer!

This is an excellent new translation of a classic Shafi'i Fiqh primer! It covers the entire spectrum of Islamic law according to the Shafi'i school of jurisprudence in a concise way. It also fills in the gap between very basic texts of fiqh to more intermediate works like Reliance of the Traveller. But as with any book, the translator who is a specialist in Islamic law and is qualified to give expert legal opinions in Islamic law, makes it clear that: "Since the earliest days of Islam, the preservation, explanation, and dissemination of religious knowledge has been the task of living human beings. Though the Qur'an, hadith, and other bodies of knowledge were recorded soon after the passing of the Prophet (salla llahu alayhi wa sallam), reliance has always been upon living human who know and practice, not inanimate pages that statically record. When Uthman (may Allah be pleased with him) sent an official mushaf (compiled book of the Quran) to the various regions of Islam, each mushaf was accompanied by someone who has been assigned the responsibility to teach the masses its proper recitation and meanings. While pages can record meanings, pages cannot recite or explain what they record; pages cannot teach others to recite or explain properly, nor test, and - when needed - correct those who err or mistaken." (translator's preface, page ix) Islamic legal manuals were never meant to be self-studied. It is important learn such texts with qualified teachers. In that way any rulings that need further clarification or explanation can be given as well as correct any mistakes that might have crept in by the translator or author. I had the pleasure of studying the text (in its preliminary form prior to publication) under Shaykh Jamal ud-Deen Hysaw during 2011-2013. This work is a must for students in Islamic law, in particular the Shafi'i school of jurisprudence. You can purchase this book by going HERE

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Muslim Motivational Speaker

Just wanted to let people know of a dear friend and brother who is doing good work. My buddy Mohamed Geraldez, an American Muslim motivational speaker, entrepreneur and investor, is a person that many people should become acquainted with. Much success to you, my brother. God speed.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

A Trailblazing American Muslim Entrepreneur

It's been a while since I've been on my blog. I've been hit with the entrepreneurial bug as of late and thought I would share the website of this American Muslim Entrepreneur. He is definitely one of the leaders of American Muslim Entrepreneurship

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Ahmed Rehab: Islam Not to Blame for Bronx Terror Plot

Ahmed Rehab: Islam Not to Blame for Bronx Terror Plot

Posted using ShareThis

Say what you will about the recently exposed Bronx Terror Plot, but please, do not insult our intelligence (and your own) by weaving fantasy scenarios of how Islam is somehow to blame for criminalizing the terror suspects who were already career criminals long before their conversions -- and who displayed only a rudimentary understanding of Islam thereafter.

At first glance, media headlines gave the impression of a contiguous homegrown "Islamic" terrorist threat, a local outgrowth of the ominous global "Jihadi" network, secretly thriving in our midst but foiled by the FBI at the last minute. It had Islam written all over it, once again implicating American Muslims and spiking fears and suspicion that ours is a problem community, part of a foreign civilization ever at odds with the West, that wants to destroy the United States from within.

Many reports put the blame on Prison Islamic conversions despite the fact that most inmates who properly convert to Islam -- including African-Americans -- change for the better and emerge to lead crime-free lives. The usual excitable figures like NY Rep Peter King jumped on the case, warning that it "demonstrates the real threat from homegrown terrorists." Career Islamophobes like the people at the shadowy organization, the Clarion Fund (producers of the controversial hate films, Obsession, and The Third Jihad) were quick to pounce as well, declaring that the Bronx case was part of a "sophisticated" homegrown Jihad (their word, not mine).

But as more facts have begun to emerge, it turns out that the suspects, one of whom is a crack addict and the other with a history of mental illness, once again, are troubled oddballs operating well outside the mainstream of the American Muslim community and its institutions, with no ties and no support from Mosques, Imams, community leaders, members at large, or even real terrorist threats like Al-Qaeda. Once again, however, it turns out that the radicalization "tipping factor", if you will, was none other than a paid government agent-provocateur.

The Facts:

1. The suspects are petty career criminals with lengthy criminal records (one of them was arrested 27 times); most of their crimes were committed before they converted to Islam in jail. They had a history of violence, drugs, and other criminal activity and are said to be troubled men by family, friends, and neighbors.

2. The suspects appear to be gullible and naive -- hardly the breed of ruthless masterminds that the global terrorist networks like Al Qaeda tend to recruit and deploy. The New York Post called them "a bunch of terror dummies" while the AP describes them as "down-and-out ex-convicts living on the margins in a faded industrial city." Relatives describe them as "struggling" men. The uncle of one of the men, Onta Williams, describes his nephew as "weak and easy to manipulate." The sister of another one of the men, James Cromitie, called him "the stupidest man on the planet." The lawyer of a third man, Laguerre Payen, described his client as "intellectually challenged" stating that he had "a very low borderline IQ." Indeed, Payen, who was on medication for schizophrenia, was deemed too insane to be deported after a previous assault conviction.

3. The suspects appear to have a weak -- even perverse -- understanding of Islam. Salahuddin Muhammad, the Imam of the mosque that one of the men visited, publicly challenged him on his incorrect understanding of Islam stating that the man had "a fundamental lack of knowledge of Islam." The Imam stressed that the man struck him as strange but not violent and that none of the men were regular attendees. Neighbors said that the men routinely barbecued and boozed it up even though devout Muslims shun alcohol and pork. The FBI admits that the men acted alone with no support or knowledge from the mosque or the local Muslim community.

4. American Muslim groups, led by CAIR, strongly condemned the plot against area Synagogues and an Air Force base. Many Muslim activists -- including myself on the Alan Colmes radio show -- came out clearly delineating Islam's condemnation of terrorism and reaffirming Islam's respect for the sanctity of human life.

Radicalized by a Government Agent?

But members of the local Mosque, Masjid al-Ikhlas, said the FBI informant, identified by sources as Shahed Hussain, 52, had long been trying to recruit worshippers there for jihad.

"Everyone knew to stay away from him. We even tried to tell James [Cromitie, one of the suspects] to stay away from him, but he didn't listen," said Abdul Wali, 29, mosque attendee, reports the New York Post.

"It's easy to influence someone with the dollar," said Imam Muhammed, a longtime member of the mosque. "Especially these guys coming out of prison."
Media reports reveal that the informant is a man who has had his own troubles with the law and had been coaxed into working as an informant in order to avoid deportation. He would drive up in his expensive car to the Mosque and offer community members free dinners, cash, or jobs to try to lure them into his fictional Pakistani terrorist connections.

Mosque members seemed to suspect that he was a possible agent-provocateur and were creeped out by his aberrant ways and views. But why was he not reported? Imam Muhammad said he wondered whether he should have done anything differently once he had suspicions about the informant who went by "Maqsood."

"How do you go to the government about the government?" he asked.

The Big Question

A lot has been said about the Bronx terror case since it broke in the media. But an important question that has yet to be publicly debated by all those genuinely concerned about the national security of this nation is this: how should street criminals and psychologically challenged oddballs who are identified by the government as being susceptible to terror fantasies -- but have no connection to global terrorist networks -- be handled by our government?

Should they be tipped over the edge by government agent-provocateurs so as to be caught red-handed, or should they be subjected to a correctional procedure? If it is the latter, whose responsibility would it be to correct those identified as potential threats? Should it be the community's responsibility, government's, society's? It would admittedly not be the role of law enforcement to do so, but is there merit for the creation of a new initiative -- perhaps involving local communities -- to intercept and counter radicalization before it becomes actionable?

The Times Online (UK) reports in an article headlined, "FBI 'lured dimwits' into terror plot," that:

The other question that US security experts were debating was how much had been achieved by assigning more than 100 agents to a year-long investigation of three petty criminals and a mentally ill Haitian immigrant, none of whom had any connection with any known terrorist group. "They were all unsophisticated dimwits," said [defense attorney, Terrance] Kindlon.

In the final analysis, I cannot absolve the Bronx four from personal responsibility, despite the legitimate concerns out there regarding possible entrapment. At the end of the day, at least one of them harbored virulently anti-Semitic and anti-American views, and their actions show demonstrable willingness to engage in bias-motivated violent acts.

But this debate is not so much about the Bronx four, their fates are for the courts to decide. It is, in the end, about understanding the nature of the real terrorist threat against us and raising responsible objections against self-deluding initiatives that seem to seek terror-case quotas by entrapping "intellectually challenged" outcasts and then deceptively marketing their isolated cases as evidence of an imminent and contiguous global threat with homegrown components.

Monday, April 20, 2009

U.S. Border Screening Under Fire

U.S. Border Screening Under Fire

By Spencer S. Hsu
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, April 20, 2009

[ To see Muslim Advocates Report go to ]

Civil liberties groups are renewing calls for the Obama administration to change screening at border posts by limiting questions about Americans' political beliefs and religious practices and establishing a process for U.S. citizens and residents who are mistakenly included on terrorist watch lists to clear their names.

In a report to be released today, the Asian Law Caucus of San Francisco cited more than 40 complaints from U.S. citizens and immigrants that it has received since 2007 as evidence of "a much wider pattern of profiling and discrimination at U.S. borders."

"Many people in America's Muslim, South Asian and Middle Eastern communities have come to expect harassment and discriminatory treatment at our nation's doorstep" when returning home, the report said.

Separately, Muslim Advocates, the advocacy arm of the National Association of Muslim Lawyers, issued a report saying that citizens should not be threatened with detention for not answering questions that go beyond establishing their legal status to enter the United States or whether they are carrying contraband.

The actions come as civil liberties groups press for a swifter response by the new Democratic president and Congress to long-standing complaints that security measures adopted after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks have subjected innocent travelers to unwarranted delays and scrutiny.

Over the years, watch-list mismatches have entangled countless individuals whose names are similar to those on the government's master database of terrorism suspects, which includes more than 1 million names and aliases used by 400,000 people.

"People think watch lists have been fixed and the problem has gone away. They haven't gone away, they've been institutionalized, and it's going to take affirmative action by the Obama administration to fix this stuff," said Christopher Calabrese, counsel for the American Civil Liberties Union's technology and liberty program.

A Department of Homeland Security spokeswoman, Amy Kudwa, declined to comment, saying that the department had not seen the reports. Kudwa added that Secretary Janet Napolitano had ordered "a wide-ranging review of all of our border security immigration policies and procedures," which is ongoing.

The Asian Law Caucus said the agency responsible for border inspections, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, should inform travelers who have concerns that they can submit complaints immediately on-site to a redress program. It also said the government should publicize an appeals process and establish a neutral board to review cases of people who think they are improperly listed.

Both reports urged the DHS to prohibit profiling based on race, ethnicity, religion and national origin in border inspections.

The DHS has received more than 54,500 requests for redress since February 2007 and closed 31,000 of them, according to the Transportation Security Administration. Critics say the program does not inform travelers whether their names are listed, whether any change has been made or how to get off the watch list and avoid being relisted.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Bringing it all back home: Obama's efforts to repair relations with Muslims abroad are admirable. But what about those living in the US

By Wajahat Ali (Guardian UK April 9, 2009)

While visiting Turkey this week, President Barack Hussain Obama, the multicultural Superman for the globalised world, proclaimed: "The United States has been enriched by Muslim Americans," despite a recent ABC/Washington Post poll showing 48% of Americans hold an unfavourable opinion of Islam, the highest unfavourablity rating since 2001.

With his inaugural world tour, President Obama's rhetoric hopes to repair and rebuild diplomatic bridges with Muslim countries recklessly abandoned by George Bush's aggressive, Yosemite Sam foreign policy – one which resulted in heightened animosity, mutual mistrust, and civilian causalities written off as collateral damage. However, perhaps the frayed relationship with Muslim citizens at home in the US should also be considered.

After avoiding Muslim American organizations, mosques and high profile leaders like the plague during his campaign, Obama now embraces them under his United Colours of Benetton tent by stating: "Many other Americans have Muslims in their family, or have lived in a Muslim-majority country. I know, because I am one of them."

Ironically, the traditional "Sick Man of Europe" – the disparaging nickname attributed to Turkey since the 19th century – blossoms like a passionately coveted maiden wooed by the new "Sick Man of the World," the US. Because it has Nato's second largest army, a moderate disposition towards Israel, a respect for secular democracy, and a valuable border with Iraq, Turkey emerges as a "critical ally" for the United States and an ideal training ground for Obama's foreign diplomacy.

The president's attempt to persuade "the Muslim world" that "the United States is not and will never be at war with Islam" is encouraging and honourable but perhaps naively idealistic. One cannot blame Muslims for feeling a little skeptical when confronted with the eight-year reality of the Bush administration's unilateral invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan, belligerent rhetoric towards Muslim countries, and the continued scapegoating and profiling of many Muslim Americans as Manchurian candidates and potential undercover jihadists.

In light of these hysterical and terrifying times, Obama earns respect for his rhetoric reflecting confidence, humility and conciliation as he encouraged a "partnership with the Muslim world." Although Muslims and Europeans alike rapturously applauded his words, the reality remains that 53% of Americans "don't personally know a Muslim" and 55% concede "they lack a good basic understanding of Islam." Due to Muslims, Islam and the Middle East appearing ubiquitously in the mainstream media over the past eight years, it is of no surprise that "29% express the belief that mainstream Islam' encourages violence against non-Muslims." When the oft-repeated, stereotypical depictions of a richly diverse and multicultural population of 1.5 billion is limited to sensational acts of extremism, violence and fanaticism exhibited by a fractional minority can there be any other result?

If partnership with Muslims is truly our intention, then the hand must first be extended to Muslims at home. Sadly, this was not the case when the FBI recently admitted to planting an informant at a California mosque, whose mission was to pose as a Muslim and actively "recruit terrorists." This revelation follows in the footsteps of the FBI's myopic decision last fall to cut off relations with the largest American Muslim civil rights organization, Council on American Islamic Relations (Cair) - undoubtedly a move influenced by certain powerful lobby groups. Deceptive, disrespectful and disingenuous methods like these continue to erode the FBI's dwindling currency with a patriotic Muslim American population eager to assist the government in its anti-terrorism efforts. However, they must first be treated as partners and not suspects.

Undoubtedly, this paranoid view of Muslim Americans as potential ticking time bombs corrupts the national mindset. Recently, the airline AirTran kicked a Muslim American family off the plane due to "suspicious behavior" and refused to rebook them despite requests from FBI agents, who had escorted the family off the plane, performed a detailed background check, and cleared them of any wrongdoing. Moreover, not too long ago nearly 13% of registered voters were convinced Obama was secretly a Muslim.

However, despite the fear-mongering shamefully hawked by an ignorant minority – such as Republican Senator Jon Kyl, who recently hosted the unabashedly xenophobic Geert Wilders and his Islamophobic movie in the Capitol – Obama should be commended for reaching out to civic-minded Americans, who also happen to be Muslims. Obama tapped Rashad Hussain, a talented and dynamic American Muslim, as his deputy associate counsel. Obama's faith advisory council now includes Dalia Mogahed, the head of the Gallup Centre for Muslim Studies, and Eboo Patel, the founder and executive director of the Interfaith Youth Core.

Both Mogahed and Patel were invited to speak by Senator John Kerry in front of the Senate foreign relations committee at an event entitled, "Engaging with Muslim communities around the world," coincidentally hosted on the same day as Senator Kyl's screening of the inflammatory movie. The actions of Kyl and Kerry illuminate two paths: one that continues to fuel hatred, prejudice and fear by perpetuating virulent stereotypes, and another that seeks mutual understanding and partnership through active dialogue and engagement.

One hopes Obama's respectful tone and words of friendship in a domestic and international arena can eventually transform pretty rhetoric into an enlightened policy that gradually dissolves the poisonous suspicions - and delivers a much-needed catharsis for all.

Wajahat Ali is a Muslim American of Pakistani descent. He is a writer and attorney, whose work, The Domestic Crusaders is the first major play about Muslims living in a post 9/11 America. He is the Associate Editor of

Monday, April 6, 2009

FBI Muslim outreach harmed by abusive tactics

By Dr. Agha Saeed, Special to IFN

A recent statement by a coalition of major national Islamic organizations cited a number of incidents in which the government unfairly targeted American mosques and Muslim groups and said concern over those abuses could result in the suspension of long-standing community outreach initiatives with the FBI.
That statement, issued by the American Muslim Taskforce on Civil Rights and Elections, is at its heart really a call for increased engagement and dialogue based on mutual respect and the preservation of constitutionally-protected civil and religious rights, not just on photo opportunities.

The essence of civic engagement, as practiced by Dr. Martin Luther King, is to create public awareness of unjust policies and tactics and to make it impossible for an oppressive status quo to be sustained.

American Muslim concerns are centered on four main factors: infiltration of mosques and systematic intimidation of religious leaders (Imams); use of agents provocateurs; use of the questionable category of unindicted co-conspirators to undermine major Muslim organizations, and denial of the First Amendment right to petition the government for a redress of grievances for organizations articulating a Muslim point of view on peace with justice in Palestine and elsewhere.

In its statement, AMT noted that "the FBI sent a convicted criminal to pose as an agent provocateur in several [California] mosques." Muslims find these FBI-induced false conversions a profoundly hurtful violation of their religious freedoms. AMT also cited the FBI’s disengagement from the Council on American-Islamic Relations, the nation’s largest and most respected Muslim civil rights organization, and the "unjustified" designation of some 300 groups and individuals as "unindicted co-conspirators" in conjunction with the Holy Land Foundation trial in Dallas, Texas.

As demonstrated by the AMT statement, American Muslims are very concerned about the negative impact these and other incidents have on ordinary American Muslims and on productive relations with law enforcement officials.

Because the FBI has been monitoring mosques and Islamic organizations and questioning individuals without credible evidence of illegal activity, Muslims are increasingly afraid to go to their houses of worship, to speak openly or to become involved in Islamic organizations and events.

These intimidating government actions are apparently permitted under new Justice Department guidelines that have been strongly criticized by civil liberties groups. Those guidelines, which took effect in December of last year, lowered the threshold for beginning FBI investigations and allowed race and ethnicity to be factors in opening a probe.

Even legal public advocacy efforts by American Muslims are being targeted. Texas law enforcement "fusion center" recently issued an alert stating that it is "imperative for law enforcement officers to report" the legal activities of Muslim lobbying and civil rights groups in their areas.

In Minnesota, Somali Muslims have expressed concerns about FBI tactics that they say amount to religious profiling. Some 50 to 100 individuals say they’ve been stopped by FBI agents in recent months.

When investigations do result in an arrest, the charges often fall under immigration or document fraud, tax evasion, and lying to federal officers, though the cases are touted as victories against "terrorism." In at least one recent case, such charges were viewed as payback for an individual’s refusal to act as an informant. The person targeted alleges that an FBI agent threatened to make his life a "living hell" if he refused to be an informant.

Following these reports, and after largely unsuccessful attempts to engage the FBI on these issues, American Muslim groups came to the conclusion that a dramatic action like considering the suspension of outreach relations would was unavoidable.

Muslims are not considering severing all ties with law enforcement agencies, but would only suspend participation in public relations efforts such as town hall meetings, diversity training and participation in FBI citizens’ academies that came to be viewed as public relations cover for behind-the-scenes abuses. Reporting of suspected criminal activities or of anti-Muslim hate crimes would continue.

This effort is not a campaign of disengagement, but is instead designed to truly engage top Justice Department officials on these critical issues. It is also designed to help restore respect and equal rights for American Muslims after eight years of being treated as suspects rather than partners.

The AMT statement clearly indicates that American Muslims support President Obama’s efforts to help end the marginalization of their institutions carried out under the Bush administration.

American Muslims are sending a clear message that they refuse to be treated as second class citizens and that law enforcement agencies should work with the Muslim community based the "mutual respect" that President Obama championed in his inaugural address.

In a recent congressional hearing, Sen. Russ Feingold (D-WI) asked FBI Director Robert Mueller about AMT’s statement and about the new investigative guidelines. Sen. Feingold asked Mueller:

"Do you think that the new attorney general guidelines are helping or hurting the FBI’s relationship with the U.S. Muslim community? In light of this task force statement, how do you plan to improve that relationship?" Mueller responded by saying the Muslim community "has been tremendously supportive and worked very closely with [the FBI] in a number of instances around the country."

The entire reason for AMT’s existence is to promote positive civic engagement by the American Muslim community. But that engagement, particularly with law enforcement agencies, must be based on fair treatment and the protection of constitutional rights, including the right to practice our religion without interference, harassment, manipulation or vilification.

Dr. Agha Saeed heads the American Muslim Taskforce on Civil Rights and Elections, a coalition of major national Islamic organizations.