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A Call for Support (Living Insights Foundations for Education)

Do you wish there was a well-rounded curriculum for the primary and secondary years, well-grounded in both the Islamic and secular subjects? Check out and support this campaign by the LIFE foundation. Living Insights Foundations for Education

Dear Seekers,

As-Salamu ‘alaykum wa rahmat Allah.

It is our pleasure to introduce and recommend LIFE (Living Insights Foundation for Education). LIFE is a new non-for-profit foundation devoted to publishing and servicing a full, authentic Islamic curriculum covering the primary and secondary years. We believe this is a communal obligation which our community is in great need of.

LIFE’s model is the applied trivium (resembling the Well-Trained Mind). This model allows contemporary students to benefit from a holistic Islamic education. The Islamic system of education is very clear: a balance of teaching (ta’lim) and character development (tarbiya), an integration of reason and revelation, and a classical methodology of engaging with texts and subjects. LIFE’s curriculum project starts with the traditional system of education (i.e. the original Dars-i Nizami), presented through a Trivium-based model, then supplement it with arts and craft, history, and other subjects drawing from Islamic culture outside the madrasa curriculum, which render the product holistic and suitable for all students.

Scholars and teachers need to act fast to mainstream our traditional systems of teaching and learning. LIFE’s materials and courses will allow parents and teachers in any part of the globe to confidently offer this benefit to their children (and schools and co-ops). No existing materials have fully imbibed these attributes.

As they embark on this important task, they are in need of your generous help and support to;

a) get their materials ready to be used/applied

b) to help them offer free courses to students and teachers in educationally-challenged environments.

Here is a list of short videos explaining the insights behind the organisation and the challenges ahead for this project.

For details on LIFE’s project, needs and team, please visit their website.  To support this endeavour, please visit their LaunchGood page to donate generously.

The Patience of Umm Ayyub

Umm Ayyub was an ordinary lady with extraordinary patience and strength.

She was a very ordinary women, so ordinary that you wouldn’t notice her. She was so ordinary that I still don’t know her name to this very day.

I don’t remember where I first met her, or when I met her. In fact, I don’t  think I ever actually met her. Rather, I’d see her, floating around in the background at various masjid and community organization events across the city.

She always wore the exact same clothes, a dark blue hijab and a white square hijab, folded over her head and secured under her chin. She said very little. In the beginning I thought that she didn’t speak English well, but later I found out that her English was quite good, despite the fact that she had recently immigrated from the Middle East with her husband and their two little girls.

Her husband was a very nice man, always helping others and driving their daughters to Qur’an classes at the masjid. From what it seemed, they were a stable and happy family.

All this time, I didn’t really take note of her. I didn’t even know she was pregnant with her third child, a boy, until someone from the community told me that she had gone to the hospital to deliver, only for the medical staff to inform her that his heart was no longer beating.

She gave birth to a stillborn baby, and named him Ayyub, after the patient Prophet, peace be upon him. The janazah prayer was held in the masjid and then the tiny coffin was taken to be buried.

Patience In Losing A Child

It can’t be easy to lose a child at any stage, much less through a stillbirth. The Umm Ayyub must have felt extremely sad, but she bore it all with extraordinary patience. Some sisters who visited her said that she was up and taking care of her family as normal. The words “Alhamdulillah” were always on her lips. After such a difficult situation, doing routine things takes enormous courage and strength, and she must have had a lot of it.

I didn’t think too much about her situation, besides sympathizing with her difficulties. Later, as I grew older and wiser, I learned more about the enormous rank granted to mothers whose children have died.

In a Hadith related in Sahih Tirmidhi the Prophet, blessings and peace be upon him, said:

“When someone’s child dies, Allah Most High asks His angels, ‘Have you taken the life of the child of My slave?’ They say yes. Allah then asks them, ‘Have you taken the fruit of his heart?’ They say yes. Thereupon He asks, ‘What has My slave said?’ The Angels say, ‘He praised you and said, Inna lillahi wa inna ilayhi raji’un (To Allah we belong and to Him we will return)’ At that Allah replies, ‘Build a home for my slave in Jannah and call it ‘Bayt al-Hamd’ (The Home of Praise).’”

Khalid al-‘Absi said, “A son of mine died and I felt intense grief over his loss. I said, ‘Abu Hurayra, have you heard anything from the Prophet, Allah bless him and give him peace, to cheer us regarding our dead?’ He replied, ‘I heard the Prophet, Allah bless him and give him peace, say, “Your children are roaming freely in the Garden.” (Bukhari)

If there was one thing I learned from this experience, it was that sometimes the most amazing people are not the ones that we look up to most. Sometimes, they are the most ordinary people that we don’t notice.


Balancing Family and Seeking Knowledge – Ustadha Raidah Shah Idil

Ustadha Raidah Shah Idil, a student of knowledge, teacher and mother, offers valuable advice to women who wish to pursue studies in sacred knowledge.

I am a mother of two children under 3 and a half years, and everyday is a juggling bonanza of love and service.

There are my physical acts of service for my daughters; bathing them, cooking, feeding them, tidying up, helping use the potty, driving them to swimming class, preschool, playdates and parks.

There are my emotional acts of service; playing with them, helping them feel safe and unconditionally loved, accepting their big feelings, helping them with conflict resolution, and setting empathetic limits.

There are my mental acts of service; reading to them, teaching them phonics, teaching them numbers, and describing different patterns in the world.

Most importantly, there are my spiritual acts of service; connecting their hearts with Allah and His Messenger, Allah bless him and give him peace, through telling them stories, bringing them to gatherings of Divine remembrance, and being their spiritual role model, even – or especially – when I make mistakes, apologise and make amends.

Balancing Family Duties

On good nights, both of my daughters sleep well – or as well as they can, given their tender ages. On bad nights, at least one or both of them wake every 1-2 hours, in varying states of distress. Allah has gifted me with two living tahajjud alarms, alhamdulilah.

In the precious pockets of free time that I have between all of this, I revise my Arabic, my Shafi’i fiqh, write, and counsel. I do so little now, compared to my days as a full-time student of knowledge, years ago. I do so little, and yet, I strive to do so daily, and this hadith comforts me:

Narrated by Aisha, may Allah be pleased with her, who said:

“Allah’s Messenger (peace and blessings be upon him) said, ‘Do good deeds properly, sincerely and moderately and know that your deeds will not make you enter Paradise, and that the most beloved deed to Allah is the most regular and constant even if it were little.’”[Bukhari]

Despite my scarcity of free time – and perhaps, because of it – every day with my daughters helps me refine my character in ways nothing else can. My capacity for patience, gratitude, forgiveness, contentment and wonder has been pushed to new heights. They can either break me, or make me grow. Truthfully, it has been a potent combination of both. My love and commitment to raising them peacefully has taught me to undo old and painful triggers. I am calmer because of them.

While I raise my daughters, through the long days and the nights, I make dua for their safety, guidance and well-being. The world we live in today is unkind to women. Women and women’s work are undervalued. The sacred covenant of marriage is no longer a refuge for too many women around the world. Toxic masculinity has harmed so many levels of the ummah. Hurt people hurt people, and there is so much pain in our world.

Why We Need Female Scholars

Because of the troubled times we are in, more than ever, we need to hear the voices of women in Islamic scholarship. We need more women trained in traditional Islamic sciences. We need more women whose hearts are alight with love for Allah and His Messenger, Allah bless him and give him peace, so wherever they are, in whatever role they find themselves in, they will be means of God-centred connection, compassion, and guidance. We can speak of Allah and His Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) ourselves, and follow in the luminous footsteps of our blessed foremothers. We have a rich history of female scholarship, and it is up to us to learn more about our heritage, and teach our sons and daughters.

If you are a young female student of knowledge, my advice to you is this: make the use of your free time. Devote yourself to your study of sacred knowledge, and study as much as you can, as deeply as you can. Know that when you get married and have children, everything will change. In the early years of motherhood, your needs will come last, and this will chafe your nafs, but it will be good for your soul. You will grow alongside your children. Everything you have studied will manifest in how you are with your household. You cannot speak of patience and forgiveness if you do not embody it, and you will get better at it, one mistake at a time. Choose love and forgiveness, especially when it is difficult. And one unimaginable day, your children will peel away from you, and you will suddenly have long, luxurious, uninterrupted hours to yourself, to study and to teach. And yet, your heart will be bruised from longing for your children. This is the nature of the dunya – it is always imperfect. There is always something missing. This is not our final home.

For Ladies Without Families

And if, dear sister, Allah does not write marriage or children for you, know that you are still beloved to Him. Being on the path of sacred knowledge and teaching it will become your mother’s milk, and your path of nourishing those around you, just as it was for our Mother ‘Aisha, may Allah be pleased with her. There will always be a need for you, and your time can be spent mentoring families who need your wisdom and connection to Allah. It will never be same as having a husband or a children of your own, so trust that Allah will recompense you for your sacrifice and patience.

May Allah grant tawfiq to all of those on the path of study, and teaching. May He facilitate the days and nights of all mothers, especially those who are juggling their studies and teaching of the deen. May He help manifest the fruits of our sacrifice through the gift of children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren who love Allah and His Prophet and may we all be reunited in Jannahtul Firdous.


Ustadha Raidah Shah Idil has spent almost two years in Amman, Jordan, where she learned Shafi’i’ fiqh, Arabic, Seerah, Aqeedah, Tasawwuf, Tafsir and Tajweed. She continues to study with her Teachers through Qibla Academy and SeekersHub Global. She also graduated with a Psychology and English degree from University of New South Wales.


Keeping Family Ties Through Intergenerational Trauma – Ustadha Raidah Shah Idil

Ustadha Raidah Shah Idil reflects on why she travels with two small children, and how to break the cycle of  intergenerational trauma.

I started to write this while my two jetlagged daughters were finally fast asleep. My husband, young daughters and I have just returned from our annual visit to Sydney, Australia. There, I finally get to reconnect with my mother, my siblings, their spouses, my nieces and my nephew. We are exhausted, and yet, we plan to visit again next year, if Allah wills, and the year after that.

These experiences allow me to see this hadith in a new way:

Malik related to me from Sumayy, the mawla of Abu Bakr from Abu Salih from Abu Hurayra that the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, “Travelling is a portion of the torment. It denies you your sleep, food, and drink. When you have accomplished your purpose, you should hurry back to your family. [Muwatta Malik]

There are the challenges that come with being trapped in an aeroplane with small children. And there are the hardships when we land. And there are the readjustments when we come home. It’s not easy. And yet, we keep visiting our family in Sydney, year after year.

Why? I have my sentimental reasons. I miss the city I grew up in. I miss my family, my friends, tasty Arab and Turkish food. I miss the bush, and I miss the beach.

But my most important intention in our annual trip to Sydney is linked to blood. I want my daughters to know their grandmother, aunties, uncles and cousins. My daughters are unlikely to remember these early years of their life, but I pray that their hearts will always know how much they are loved. In a world so fragmented, I want my daughters to be deeply rooted in the foundations of our families.

We are all bound by blood, and blood is not always easy. My family and I have gone through deep valleys of pain. I am grateful that my trials brought me on a journey towards Allah. Now, I am at the most challenging and rewarding leg of my journey – motherhood.

Every day, I commit to breaking my family’s cycle of intergenerational trauma. I commit to intentional, peaceful parenting. I refuse to inflict my nafs on my children. On good days, I can stay calm and rise above the challenges that come with being the main caretaker for my children. On bad days, when I am running low on sleep and patience, I can see the temptation to lash back. And when I slip up, I always say sorry. I want my daughters to learn how important it is to take responsibility for their mistakes, to make amends, and repair their relationships. I hope to model that for them, I pray that Allah fills in the rest and forgives me for my shortcomings.

While my daughters sleep, I look up flights to Sydney for next year. Until then, I tell stories to my children about their grandfather, grandmother, aunties, uncles and cousins. They are too young to understand the meaning of divorce, estrangement, and inherited pain. But what they do understand is love.

May our children never hunger for our love. May we teach them how much Allah and the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) love them. May we all be reunited with our loved ones in Jannahtul Firdaus.


Ustadha Raidah Shah Idil has spent almost two years in Amman, Jordan, where she learned Shafi’i’ fiqh, Arabic, Seerah, Aqeedah, Tasawwuf, Tafsir and Tajweed. She continues to study with her Teachers through Qibla Academy and SeekersHub Global. She also graduated with a Psychology and English degree from University of New South Wales.


Prophetic Parenting Part 1 – Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

The Prophetic Parenting series, taught by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani,  covers 40 Hadiths on raising righteous Muslim children.

Shaykh Faraz Rabbani opens the session by bringing the discussion to the pre-marriage phase; choosing a spouse.

A successful marriage will be with somebody who has good character, empathy, generosity, and other inner trails, while things like beauty and wealth can fade away. This world is provision and a means, and the best provision in it is a righteous spouse.

Good character is very important because children are extremely impressionable from a young age. It is important for parents to model qualities that they want the children to instil, such as honesty and accountability.

In addition, parents should make their choices carefully, and make them for the sake of Allah, knowing that they have immediate moral consequence in this world, and in the hereafter.

Parents’ actions will affect their relationship with their children, and have emotional, physical, and moral consequences. The Prophet Muhammad was incredibly expressive in his love, and he described his two grandsons as “the two joys in my life.” He would regularly express his love to his family members and others. Parents shouldn’t be shy to be expressive in their love to each other and to their children,

In addition, parents should have a good idea of how they want to raise their children, and ways to achieve those goals. Secondly, they should have a good idea how to have a healthy and gentle how to install adab, or proper manners, in their day-to-day routine.

About the Series

As Muslims, we take family and our children seriously. We seek clarity and guidance to raise upright, righteous, successful Muslim children who love Allah and His Messenger (peace be upon him). Shaykh Faraz Rabbani will cover 40 hadiths of the Prophet (peace be upon him) on parenting.

Beginning with how to choose a spouse while keeping in mind future parenting, to raising and educating children from when they’re small to when they are young adults. We will also see beautiful, faith-inspiring examples of the Prophet’s mercy, gentleness, wisdom, and excellence in his own parenting and dealing with children–while inculcating in them the highest of aspiration, discipline, curiosity, intelligence, and spiritual resolve.


Is It Obligatory to Try to Have Children?

Answered by Shaykh Abdurragmaan Khan

Question: Assalam alaykum,

I don’t want children in the future. I am very sure about it. But I heard from a lot of people that this isn’t Islamic correct. I don’t get it. Maybe it is mustahab to have children but you can’t make a women put in such a pressure and let feeling her bad for her choice. What is the truth about this matter?

Answer: Wa alaykum al-Salam

Thank you for your question.

One of the noble objectives of marriage is offspring. Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala says in surah al-Baqarah, “So now have relations with them, and seek that which Allah has decreed for you”. Many of the scholars stated that, “that which Allah has decreed for you.” refers to children.

The right to having children is a right of both husband and wife. Your question does not mention your specific circumstance. Are you married? Does your husband want children? Whose criticizing you and making you feel bad?

If it is that you are married and individuals outside your marriage are criticizing you, then you should ignore them. However, if it is your husband that desires children, then, unless you have a valid reason or excuse, you should not be stripping him of this right. Similarly, had it been the wife that desires children, the husband, unless he has a valid reason or excuse, should not deprive his wife from her rights. The Messenger sallaLlahu alayhi wasallam in a narration, indicating to the wife’s right to have children, prohibited the husband from practicing coitus interruptus without the permission of his wife.

Further, it’s important for husband and wife to discuss these matters prior to marriage. When both parties agree not have children then there is no problem in that.

Finally, psychiatrists mention a number of reasons why certain women may be completely deterred from having children, many of them relating to her youth or upbringing. This is a worthy avenue to explore as it may present solutions to a challenging situation.

And Allah knows best

Wassalam
[Shaykh] Abdurragmaan Khan

Shaykh Abdurragmaan
received ijazah ’ammah from various luminaries, including but not restricted to: Habib Umar ibn Hafiz—a personality who affected him greatly and who has changed his relationship with Allah, Maulana Yusuf Karaan—the former Mufti of Cape Town; Habib ‘Ali al-Mashhur—the current Mufti of Tarim; Habib ‘Umar al-Jaylani—the Shafi‘i Mufti of Makkah; Sayyid Ahmad bin Abi Bakr al-Hibshi; Habib Kadhim as-Saqqaf; Shaykh Mahmud Sa’id Mamduh; Maulana Abdul Hafiz al-Makki; Shaykh Ala ad-Din al-Afghani; Maulana Fazlur Rahman al-Azami and Shaykh Yahya al-Gawthani amongst others.

How to Raise Children in Difficult Environments?

Answered by  Habib Umar bin Hafiz

Question: Assalam aleykum

A woman who lives with her husband and children in a non-Muslim home, what is her responsibility in safeguarding her faith and the faith of her children?

Answer: [Assalam alaykum]

She is responsible for:

-Filling her heart and the hearts of her children with the love of Allah, The Truth, and His Messenger (may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him and his folk)

-Guarding the performance of the obligatory prayers

-Taking on a share of the [consistent] reading the of Quran

-Recitation of the morning and evening supplications

-Frequent recounting of the Sirah (biography) of the Prophet (may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him and his folk), both among the spouses and to the children
[Mention of] the news of returning back to Allah, entering into the life in the grave (barzakh), the Day of Judgment, and Paradise and Hellfire.

-In addition, the parents should arrange for their children gatherings of group remembrance during the week; if not every night.

-On occasion, they should present to them beneficial lectures and recordings of the righteous.

-Vigilant supervision of their children’s behavior and character;

All this is to be done infused with the spirit of mercy, beautiful kindness, intellectual persuasion and gentle demeanor.

Translated by Rayshaud Jameer

Habib Umar bin Hafiz  is a descendant of the Prophet (upon him be Allah’s peace and blessings). Born into a family of scholars, Habib Umar, pursued the sacred sciences from a young age, including Quran, Hadith, Fiqh, ‘Aqeedah, Arabic, and Spirituality. In 1994, he established Dar al-Mustafa, an educational institute in Tarim, Yemem.

Link to the original answer

Am I Obligated to Look After My Difficult Grandchildren If I Cannot Manage?

Answered by Ustadha Raidah Shah Idil

Question: Assalam aleykum,

My daughter is married and lives on the same street as me. I have said that I can’t look after the children whenever they have had enough, or when they want to go out child-free. Her husband forces her to send them to me when she knows that I am unable to take them. Then he badmouths me, saying that I won’t have the children. He instigates the children to go to me, so much so, that I’ve stopped going out in case I cross their path and he foists the children on me when I can’t manage. He won’t take no for an answer. Am I obliged to take the children if I can’t manage?

Answer: Assalamualaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

I pray this finds you well. May Allah reward you for reaching out to us. Please forgive me for the delay.

Obligation

Fiqh-wise, the obligation for care of children falls solely on their parents. You are not obligated to care for them. It would be praiseworthy for you to care for your grandchildren, but only if you are able to.

Your grandchildren did not ask to be born. Your daughter and son-in-law are responsible for their care. It is deeply troubling to hear that your son-in-law would leave them all day with you if he could.

Support

Who do you have to lean on for support? You sound very alone in this struggle.

I encourage you to seek out a culturally-sensitive counsellor who can help you learn better coping strategies. She can teach you how to assert yourself and resolve conflict, for example.

It is troubling to hear that you have stopped leaving your home, out of fear of running into your daughter, son-in-law and grandchildren.You need to nourish your own self, and isolating yourself in your home may lead you to feeling trapped and depressed.

Childcare

Your daughter and her husband need to come up with better solutions for childcare. It sounds like your grandchildren are craving more play, connection and boundary-setting from their parents. Children can tell when their parents are distracted and unhappy to be around them. This triggers deep feelings of insecurity, making them clingier and more challenging to be with. Foisting them on you will not fix that. This is why it is so important for you to hold your own boundary. Your daughter and son-in-law need to spend more nourishing time with their children, and not less.

As a mother of two children under the age of 3, I have found Dr Laura Markham’s Aha! Parenting and Patty Wipfler’s Hand In Hand Parenting resources to be extremely helpful. Both approaches come from a place of peaceful and deep connection between parent and child. Perhaps you can read up on these, and suggest these resources to your daughter and her husband.

In addition, I encourage you, your daughter and your son-law to enrol in SeekersHub’s Parenting in Islam: How to Raise Righteous Children.

Your daughter will probably benefit from sending her children to part-time nursery/preschool/daycare. This is obviously more expensive than sending them to you, but the routine, peer play and guidance of caring teachers may be good for them.

Change is uncomfortable for most of us, even when we need it most. As your son-in-law will not take no for answer, then you must stand up for yourself in as clear a way as possible. Again, strategise with your counsellor or life coach about how to better set this boundary.

Boundaries

MashaAllah, you have already gone through the hard years of parenting your own children. Grandparenting is an entirely different stage of your life, and it would be better if you chose to care for your grandkids willingly, from a heart free of resentment. Some space from them may be what you need.

This may sound extreme, but if they continue to disrespect your wishes, then perhaps moving further away from your daughter, at least temporarily, may be a solution. You will naturally feel guilty for moving away. Make space for these feelings of guilt, and remind yourself that your self-care comes first. You do not want to end up making dua against your daughter, her husband and her children, in a moment of deep unhappiness.

I encourage you to perform the Prayer of Need and the Prayer of Guidance about how to move forward in this trial. Watch what Allah unfolds for you. For example, if He facilitates your moving to a different location, then that is a sign for you to proceed. If He sends obstacles your way, then that is a sign for you to stay where you are and work things out.

Daughter

Motherhood, especially during the stage of small children, is relentless. I am not sure how old your grandchildren are, but if they are both under the ages of 5, then your daughter and son-in-law are probably sleep-deprived, overwhelmed and potentially depressed. Encourage your daughter, at least, to seek out professional help. Have an honest conversation with her. Find out why they are struggling so deeply to be present with their children.

It is not healthy for your son-in-law to not want to spend time with his own children. This shows to me that he may have many unresolved issues from his own childhood, as parenting can bring up old wounds. The solution is not to ignore these signals, but to use them as opportunities for growth and healing. It may be easier for him to avoid these feelings by leaving them with you, but this robs him of the gift of meaningful connection with his children. So many Muslim children grow up disconnected from their parents, starting from their early years, and it culminates in young adults who do not practice the deen, and who find comfort outside their homes.

For your daughter, especially, I recommend the book Being There: Why Prioritizing Motherhood In The First Three Years Matters by Erica Komisar. This groundbreaking book describes how important the early years are, and how mothers need to face and work through feelings of guilt for not being present for their children. The impact of these early years of parenting will reverberate for the rest of your grandchildren’s lives. How your grandchildren are being parented today will teach them how to parent, in the future.

I pray that Allah sends you help, heals the rifts between your hearts and blesses your grandchildren with parents who value, love and cherish them.

Please see:

Selected Prophetic Prayers for Spiritual, Physical and Emotional Wellbeing by Chaplain Ibrahim Long
A Reader on Patience and Reliance on Allah

[Ustadha] Raidah Shah Idil

Checked & Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Ustadha Raidah Shah Idil has spent almost two years in Amman, Jordan, where she learned Shafi’i’ fiqh, Arabic, Seerah, Aqeedah, Tasawwuf, Tafsir and Tajweed. She continues to study with her Teachers in Malaysia and online through SeekersHub Global. She graduated with a Psychology and English degree from University of New South Wales, was a volunteer hospital chaplain for 5 years and has completed a Diploma of Counselling from the Australian Institute of Professional Counsellors. She lives in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, with her husband, daughter, and mother-in-law.

Ustadha Zaynab Ansari on Women of the Quran: Sarah

Ustadha Zaynab Ansari, in partnership with Muslimah Media, speaks in a 6-part series about women who are documented in the Quran.

Sarah, wife of Ibrahim

Sarah, wife of the Prophet Ibrahim, is the oldest historical figure mentioned in the Quran. She appears both in the Quran and in the hadith traditions. In Islam, she is understood to be very different from how she is portrayed in other religions.

Rather than portraying her as a bitter and jealous woman, we know that, despite enduring hardships, she was confident that she would be a part of Allah’s miracles. She did have to watch her husband take a second, younger wife who gave birth to a son, Ismael. However, she displayed the character of a true believer by remaining patient and steadfast. Eventually, Allah rewarded her with a child of her own. She was an elderly woman by then, but Allah made it possible through his Mercy and Will.

A relatable woman

Many women can relate to Sarah. She was challenged with infertility, and her struggle is documented in the Quran. After a lot of struggle and patience, Allah granted her a miraculous child.

A group of angels, on their way to the people of Lot, stopped at the house of Ibrahim. They delivered the good news of a child to Sarah. Out of delight, she laughed out loud. This laugh of hers was mentioned in the Quran.

Her child was Ishaq, or Isaac, who became a Prophet just like his father. His son was Yaqub (Jacob), whose son was Yusuf (Joseph), upon them be peace. Therefore, Sarah became the matriarch of a glorious line of Prophets. These Prophets were followed, and are still followed, by countless believers.


Resources for Seekers

Imam Zaid Shakir on the Florida Shootings

The following post by Imam Zaid Shakir was first published on his personal FaceBook page immediately following the shootings. We chose to republish it as it attempts to bypass the emotionally driven factionalism and address the roots causes of what is happening.

Florida Shootings

School Shootings: More Than Deranged Teenagers

Our condolences to the families of those killed and wounded by Nikolas Cruz in the “Valentine Day Massacre” yesterday in Parkland, Florida. The fact that Parkland was recently rated the 15th safest city in America and the safest in Florida, indicates the kind of mindless violence which has befallen that city can rear its ugly head anywhere.

In looking for causes many will point to the mental challenges the killer was confronting. Others will point an accusing finger at the NRA as a major contributor to this type of continuous carnage. The problem is larger than mental illness and it is larger than the NRA.

“It Is What It Is.”

The problem is a system that demands our country be flooded with guns in order to protect the profits of gun manufacturers.

It is a system that demands the world be flooded with American weapons in order to protect the profits of our weapons manufacturers.

It is a system that demands we engage in an unending series of armed conflicts in order to deplete the inventories of our military stockpiles.

It is a system that allows for the unfettered sale of ever more vicious and violent video games, knowing that such games desensitize human beings to killing (see Lt. Colonel Dave Grossman’s, “On Killing”).

It is a system that spend’s trillions of dollars on war but cannot find money for adequate treatment and housing of the nation’s mentally challenged.

It is a system that is steeped in violence yet cannot admit just how normal violence has become.

The Truth Is…

The truth is that violence has become so normal that a candidate for president can be elected after saying, “I could stand in the middle of 5th Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn’t lose voters…”

Until we address the nature of the system defining the parameters of our politics, economics, our social and political cultures, and why it breeds such violence these tragedies will continue to occur. As the young folks say, “It is what it is.”

Imam Zaid Shakir

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