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The Necessity of Islamic Institutions in the Modern Age – Imam Khalid Latif

The Need

“With modernity, people lose a depth of perspective that you can only see in one direction, either outward or inward… we’re supposed to be people who can see in both directions.”

Qualified Teachers

“Where you move from having somebody who is just a professor to a teacher: that they embody a sense of ethics, a sense of values, that you’re able to now recognize that they’re not just talking at you, but they live what it is that they’re inviting you towards.”

Traditional Learning

“You build and you grow and you increase through a systematized method of learning because it has an ends—that is not just about the learning itself but what the learning brings you towards and what it allows for you to do.”

Scale

“But the beauty of light is that it just takes a little bit of it to push away darkness.”

Global Impact

“You have men and women like those who run this facility… people have come up to me and mentioned them by name, saying that if not for them and what it is that they speak about and what it is that they give us access to and what it is that they teach us about religion—in countries where religion is heavily corporatized—I wouldn’t know how to deal with the depression that I had that was bringing me to a place where I was thinking of ending my life in this world, because I couldn’t find any way of getting out of it until I learned about God through a different prism.”

“They help us to deal with the challenges that our students bring us, our community brings us every day, rooted in realities that require us to see what it was that we were taught through a different prism through a different perspective. That’s the kind of work you’re being invited to support today; those are the kind of individuals who are building institutions that are set to live much much more beyond them… but where you have benefited become the means through which others can benefit, and to allow and understand for yourself that the house of God, the path of God, the book of God, anything that is qualified of God, is meant to not draw attentiveness to it but to draw attention towards God.”

Beautiful Facility

“You can come to places and spaces like this, and you walk into it and the remembrance of God is not something that gets forced upon you but you just feel it all around you. I walked in the SeekersGuidance facility today—and it was the first time that I’ve ever been in it—and every part of it just made me feel a familiarity and a recognition that turned me towards the Divine. There’s not a lot of places like that, especially in the world that we live in today. And it’s a testament to those who built it, but also those who frequent it. And what you have is unique, but you have to care for it, and you have to build it and grow it, so that it reaches beyond what even you can imagine it to become.”

 

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Who is looking out for Muslim converts this Ramadan? Imam Khalid Latif

The convert experience in Islam is one that is tough for many. Muslim communities throughout the world get excited when someone enters into their doors saying they want to accept Islam. There are hugs and laughter and a large uproar – and then everything stops and the convert has to figure out how to move forward on their own. Trying to navigate through the diversity of legal and theological opinion in Islam can be tough enough, but doing so on your own is that much tougher; as is navigating through the cultural diversity that exists in the Muslim community on your own; questioning yourself and wondering what parts of your identity you need to abandon to fit in on your own. I could keep going – but essentially the point is we don’t do a good job in taking care of our converts

That Much Harder For Muslim Converts

I bring this up because Ramadan is just days away and during Ramadan it’s that much harder for a lot of converts. Every Muslim’s family is not Muslim. Every Muslim does not have a family to eat suhoor with or have iftar with. How many iftars have you hosted or attended to which a convert was invited? Or at the end of the month extended an invitation to an Eid celebration to someone who is a convert? Our consciousness doesn’t seem to extend to this place.
I had a young woman tell me once that Ramadan is interesting for her because each year her family offers her food and she tells them she can’t eat it because she’s fasting. They respond by asking, “Oh, you’re still Muslim?” It’s not an experience that her family shares with her.
Another young woman told me her experience fasting during Ramadan was hard because her family wouldn’t accept her Islam. When it came time to eat lunch, her father would put a plate of food in front of her because he refused to acknowledge that she was a Muslim. She was quite torn in deciding what to do and not having a community, or even simply a few people who understood, to turn to made it that much harder.

Out Of Sight, Out Of Mind

A young man mentioned to me that his family had been completely fine with his conversion, but no Muslims really included him in anything. He expected that the local mosque would welcome him in and invite him to things, but he found that if he didn’t make a point of going on his own, no one really asked him to come. No one checked in on him, asked him how he was doing, or if he ever needed anything. During past Ramadans, his mother would call him daily to wake him up for suhoor, which he proceeded to eat on his own and then waited til sunset to break his fast alone as well. He doesn’t seem to think this Ramadan will be any different.
Try to think of who might be observing the month of Ramadan alone this year, not by choice but because there isn’t any other option for them. Make a point to include them in a way that makes sense for them. That might be inviting them to a large gathering or making the time to be with them in a smaller, more intimate atmosphere. Where others have forgotten, let’s make sure we’re remembering to do our part continuously and to the best of our abilities.

Follow Imam Khalid Latif on Facebook.
Photo by Jim Pennucci.

The Prophet Muhammad’s ﷺ Forbearance, by Imam Khalid Latif

In these dark and confusing times, Imam Khalid Latif reminds us how the best of mankind, Prophet Muhammad ﷺ responded to adversity.

Zayd ibn San’an (may Allah be pleased with him) narrates:
Once, God’s Messenger  borrowed some money from me. I was not yet a Muslim then. I went to him to collect my debt before its due time, and insulted him, saying; ‘You the children of ‘Abd al-Muttalib, are very reluctant to pay your debts!’ ‘Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) became very angry with this insult of mine and shouted; ‘O enemy of God! Were it not for the treaty between us and the Jewish community, I would cut off your head! Speak to God’s Messenger politely!’
However, God’s Messenger  smiled at me and, turning to ‘Umar (may Allah be pleased with him), said, “Umar, pay the man his debt! And add to it the amount of twenty gallons because you have frightened him!”
Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) relates the rest of the story: “We went together. On the way, Zayd (may Allah be pleased with him) spoke to me unexpectedly;

O ‘Umar! You got angry with me. But I have found in him all the features of the Last Prophet recorded in the Torah, the Old Testament. However, there is this verse in it: ‘His mildness surpasses his anger. The severity of impudence to him increases him only in mildness and forbearance.’ In order to test his forbearance, I uttered what I uttered. Now I am convinced that he is the Prophet whose coming the Torah predicted, so, I believe and bear witness that he is the Last Prophet.

The mildness and forbearance of God’s Messenger  sufficed for the conversion of Zayd ibn San’an (may Allah be pleased with him), who was one of the Jewish scholars of the time. [Suyuti, al-Khasa’is, 1.26; I. Hajar, al-Isabah, 1.566.]
The Prophet was a person of Haleem, his example for us was that he had a sense of kindness and love and a sense of justice and compassion.
Your prayer is not only for you but for all of humanity, your forbearance impacts all of humanity. Look inside and ask yourself “What am I going to give?”
The Prophet in his forbearance was always merciful, compassionate, generous, loving and a source of hope.
Pray, smile and love others from your heart. The things that are happening around us, hardships do exist, ask yourself how will you meet it? If you meet it with anything less than true forbearance, to be able to recognise and what it means for us individually and communally, Allah will give us opportunities for growth and we will have to decide if we are going to take it on or not.

We are grateful to ICNYU for this recording.

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Imam Khalid Latif On Faith, Fear And Getting Stopped By Airport Security

Imam Khalid Latif is one of the people profiled in The Secret Life of Muslims, a digital series about Islamophobia. He is also the first Muslim chaplain at New York University. Our thanks to NPR’s Fresh Air for this interview.

TERRY GROSS, HOST:

This is FRESH AIR. I’m Terry Gross. My guest is the second ever Muslim to serve as a chaplain in the NYPD, Imam Khalid Latif. When he took the job 10 years ago, he was also the youngest person ever to serve as an NYPD chaplain. He’s also the executive director and chaplain for the Islamic Center at NYU. He’s done a lot of interfaith work, and has shared the stage with the Dalai Lama and the Pope and has met with President Obama. Latif’s parents are American citizens who emigrated to the U.S. from Pakistan. Latif is one of the people featured in the new digital series about Islamophobia called “The Secret Life Of Muslims.” The series is on multiple platforms, including Vox, the USA TODAY Network, “CBS Sunday Morning,” the public radio show “The World,” and the “Secret Life Of Muslims” website.

Khalid Latif, welcome to FRESH AIR. So you’ve been working with police officers and with students. Give us a sense of the range of reactions you’re seeing in the Muslim community that you work with to the election and imminent inauguration of Donald Trump, who has proposed a registry for Muslim immigrants and a ban – he’s spoken of a ban on Muslim immigrants coming to America. He’s used the phrase a total and complete shutdown of Muslims coming to the U.S.

KHALID LATIF: You know, I think a lot of Muslims are very scared, and I think they’re valid in that fear. The reality, unfortunately, is such that even leading into the elections we saw a gross increase in anti-Muslim bias and incidents. In New York City, where I live, leading into the elections, just in a matter of weeks you had two imams – religious leaders of a Muslim community in Queens – who were shot in the back of their head and passed away subsequently. Following afternoon prayers, a 60-year-old woman of Bengali descent was walking home one evening in Queens as well with her husband who is asthmatic, and she had moved a few blocks ahead of him to get home quicker to get dinner ready. And he said later at a press conference that I was at that he heard her screaming and came upon her and found her stabbed and had eventually succumbed to the wounds just a couple of blocks away from their home. There was two mothers strolling their babies in Brooklyn who had been assaulted. A woman wearing a headscarf in Midtown Manhattan had been set on fire. These were all things that happened prior to the election.

Post the election, you know, I think what hit me hard, being at New York University, we have various prayer rooms that Muslim students use on our campus. And the day after the election in our school of engineering in Brooklyn, Muslim students walked into their prayer room to find the entrance with the word Trump written across it and an exclamation point. About a week later, there was Jewish students who on their dorm room door found swastikas, the words make America great again, white pride, make America white again on their doorways. And these were realities that I think evoked a lot of different emotions understandably.

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GROSS: Do you have any personal concerns about how you or your family will be affected by President Trump?

LATIF: You know, I mean, I find myself in a lot of unique positions. And I could tell you as somebody who has traveled on behalf of the State Department, met with the heads of Homeland Security, interacted with senior White House staff and the president himself on numerous occasions, I’ve also been visited in my home by the FBI multiple times. Getting on and off of planes is not really a fun experience.

GROSS: Wait, wait. Just to clarify what you’re saying, the first set of meetings you had were to find out your opinions and to work with you. When you’re talking about the FBI, they were thinking of investigating you. So (laughter) you’re getting it from both ends, cooperation from – like…

LATIF: Well, I think, you know – yeah.

GROSS: …We want your opinion, we’re the government, we want your opinion. At the same time, people are treating you with suspicion from the government.

LATIF: Well, you know, I mean, to give you an example. John Brennan, who is then the Homeland Security head, had visited our Islamic Center at NYU in an event we had done with the White House. And after a private meeting, there was a public gathering. And in that, he addressed the audience saying that Imam Latif, President Obama, thinks of you as a great American citizen and a role model, an example, et cetera, et cetera. And a week later was the first time I started getting detained coming into the country that I have a passport of – off of international flights. And so to just understand and recognize that even someone like me who has the connections that I do finds themselves in these places.

GROSS: So I’m going ask you to describe your job as an NYPD chaplain.

LATIF: So I started working for the NYPD in 2007. There’s about eight chaplains now at the police department of various faiths – Protestant ministers, Catholic priests, there’s a rabbi and myself, an imam. We do a lot of counseling. We do a lot of religious services for officers – uniform and civilian. Our role is to not cater simply to our specific faith community, but to serve as a resource for the 53,000 people who make up the police department, and by extension their family members. We’re on call one day a week if, God forbid, there’s some kind of emergency – somebody gets shot, somebody dies in the line of duty. We’ll go to the hospital to be with the officer, with their fellow officers, their family members.

There’s a lot of ceremonies that start and end with invocations and benedictions. And we can do advocacy work on behalf of other officers. We’re given the appointed rank of inspector, which is one rank below a one-star chief. It’s a fairly high rank in this military-esque institution, and it allows for us at times to utilize and leverage the rank to speak on behalf of those who are of a lower rank just to be able to amplify their voices a little bit more.

GROSS: How many Muslim police officers are there in the NYPD?

LATIF: We estimate that there’s probably about 2,000 to 3,000 Muslims who work in the NYPD, both uniform and civilian, and that includes traffic cops as well. But there’s been Muslims in the police department for quite some time now, and they come from very diverse backgrounds, pretty much every race, ethnicity, culture that you could think of, men and women, different levels of religious observance as well.

GROSS: So when you’re dressed in civilian clothes you wear a kufi which is a Muslim skull cap, and you have a fairly short beard. So people might recognize when they see you that you’re a Muslim. When you’re in your uniform – because you do wear a uniform when you’re on duty, right?

LATIF: I do, I have an inspector’s uniform.

GROSS: So are you wearing like a police hat or a kufi?

LATIF: I still have my skull cap on – my kufi – and I wear my beard as well.

GROSS: Right. You don’t take it off when you’re on calls?

LATIF: It’s not coming off.

(LAUGHTER)

GROSS: So when you’re on call and you’re working with officers who aren’t Muslim, do you ever get faced with any stereotypical preconceptions or any, like, negative vibes because you are Muslim?

LATIF: You know, I mean, the interactions that I’ve had that kind of affirm the fact that people see me through my faith when I’m in uniform hasn’t really come from within the police department. But unfortunately at times when I’m kind of outside of the department but still in my uniform, I’ve had people when I’m walking down the street ask me if I’m dressed up for a costume party. People who have asked me, how is it possible that someone like you could work for the police department? I think one of the most striking experiences for me came when I attended one of the ground zero memorial services on September 11.

So one of the things that we do as police chaplains is attend the 9/11 memorial every year on September 11. We start out by having breakfast at police headquarters with family members who lost loved ones on that day. We then take a bus down to the ground zero site and participate in the ceremony. On the ninth anniversary of the attacks, Vice President Biden was there. And the ceremony was a little bit more closed off because the current memorial structure that exists there now was still being built.

And so I’m in my police uniform. It’s an inspector’s uniform. I still have my beard. I’m wearing my kufi, my skull cap. I’m talking to people as we’re waiting for the ceremony to start, and three men approach me wearing suits. And they say that Secret Service has spotted you from the top of a building. They want us to check your credentials just in case. And I said to them, just in case what? And they said, we’re sorry that we’re doing this to you. I said, then why are you doing it? And to be able to understand what they’re questioning at that moment isn’t really my physical presence at that location, but the entire validity of my emotion tied to that space.

When I was an undergrad at New York University on September 11 in 2001, I stood with about 15,000 of my classmates in Washington Square Park in the middle of our campus as we watched the second plane fly into the towers. We faced a lot of backlash as students at that time. The day after, there was a young woman who tried to push me down the staircase of our dormitory. We had to answer a lot of requests for media from all over the world because we were arguably the closest Muslim group to the ground zero site. And we had no established chaplaincy or Islamic Center at that time, so we just had to do what we could.

I went to a lot of funerals for people of my faith and other walks of life who died on that day. And so much of the work that I do until today is informed by the atrocities of that day. And in that moment, these men are questioning the validity of all of it. And the frustrating thing isn’t that I’m going through it, but I can’t really do anything about it.

And so where I couldn’t say anything and there was hundreds of people who were watching and they said nothing, there was a woman standing next to me who lost her son on September 11. And she said to those men that what you are doing right now is more dishonoring to the memory of our loved ones that we lost on that day than anything else. That here this young man is standing with us in our moment of need, and you’re making it seem as if he’s doing something wrong just because he’s Muslim.

GROSS: And what was the response to that?

LATIF: Well, they got very uncomfortable (laughter) and kind of just…

GROSS: The FBI agents?

LATIF: …Trickled away. Yeah. And, you know, I say this, again, as somebody who – I’ve shared the stage with people like Pope Francis and the Dalai Lama. I’ve met with the president. I’ve been interviewed by a lot of different media. And I’ve still found myself as an individual who has dealt with the realities of being profiled, detained, surveilled, visited by federal law enforcement who, when I’ve asked them after they’ve talked to me multiple times, what do you really want from me, they’ve said, you’re just too good to be true and know that we’re watching you.

When I think of a good person, I think of this woman who simply did the right thing because it was the right thing to do. She leveraged her power and her privilege in a unique way to help somebody who was underserved and underprivileged. And I think that’s how we challenge systemic mechanisms that infringe on the rights of minority populations who don’t have the power dynamic in their favor.

Because really, who in their right mind is going to say something to a mother who lost her son on September 11 while she’s standing at the ground zero site on the anniversary of September 11? And she knew that. And she understood that. And she was the only one who could have said what she said. And she just did it because it was the right thing to do.

GROSS: So you said that the FBI agents at this 9/11 memorial service said to you, you seem too good to be true. Just know we’re watching you. So do you feel like…

LATIF: They said that to me in my office after they had visited me in my home (laughter).

GROSS: Oh, OK. OK. OK.

LATIF: So that was on another – we’ve had a lot of different interactions. I have some friends there now who’ve seen me quite often in different places, but (laughter).

GROSS: So do you feel like you are – do you fear you are under surveillance now? Do you know if you are?

LATIF: Yeah, I mean, it’s tough to understand how it’s like to go through it. But the first time the FBI visited me in my home, I was actually asleep in my bedroom. And a friend of mine was staying over. He knocked on the door to my bedroom and I said, what’s going on? And he said, the FBI is here. They walked into my living room. I sat down and had a conversation with them. I live in a New York University building, so I had reached out to our university’s senior leadership, the head of public safety, to let them know what was going on.

A lot of the questions that they were asking me in my home were tied to just other people, ideas, Muslim organizations and institutions. And a public safety officer then knocked on the door and told them that they needed to leave, that they didn’t have permission to be there. The next day, when I left from my building to go to my office, I walked a couple of blocks to where my car was parked and both of the agents were standing next to my car. And they said, please, we’d love to continue our conversation. Why don’t we go to the federal building?

And I said, there’s no way I’m going with you to the federal building. They then followed me to my office. We had a conversation for a few hours. The conversation shifted from talking about things more generally to me in specific, at which point I said to them, you know, what is it that you’re really looking for? What do you want from me? And one said to me, you’re just too good to be true. Just know that we’re watching you.

And in the weeks after, I found myself in a place where I was constantly looking over my shoulder, seeing if someone was driving behind me. I didn’t go to see my parents in their home for quite some time, didn’t really see my siblings because I didn’t want to bring somebody to where they were. And there was kind of this fear.

GROSS: So you were the youngest chaplain in the history of the NYPD. So you were – what? – 24 when you started on the job?

LATIF: I was 24, yes.

GROSS: I’m just trying to imagine what the reactions of officers were – what their reactions were when they first met you. I know when I started doing interviews and I was around 24 – and I’m shorter than you are – people would be almost panicked at the beginning, like, you’re so young, like, really, they’re letting you do this, you know (laughter). So what kind of reactions…

LATIF: I’m actually pretty short, so…

GROSS: Are you?

LATIF: …I might be shorter than you.

GROSS: So what were their reactions that you were supposed to be guiding them, ministering to them? And these are cops who see everything – life and death and suffering and crime and – so tell us.

LATIF: But, yeah, early on it was pretty interesting. I had to get accustomed to just the uniform and the rank of inspector and what that meant. And I think what was more of a challenge in overcoming was not my age alone, but really kind of the hierarchy to authority. At 24, to have a lot of grown men who were at times, you know, 10 years older than me, 20 years older than me calling me sir, saluting me. And, you know, it wasn’t even always in the most opportune times. There was times I would walk into the restroom and there would be men who would be standing at a urinal, and they would stop and salute me. And I would tell – you guys, you don’t have to do that, it’s OK. But where people were looking at me by my age, they then weren’t necessarily identifying me through the prism of my faith. And I think the combination of the two factors, you know, led towards a lot of deep relationships being built that now at 34 I recognize the importance of in retrospect.

GROSS: Can you give us an example of a time early in your career as an NYPD chaplain where you felt really unprepared to deal with the kind of, you know, emotional turmoil that you were faced with after one of the officers went through, you know, a terrible experience on the job?

LATIF: Yeah. I mean, I think one of the heaviest experiences for me was probably the first time I had to go to the hospital after somebody was shot. And I think at that moment it really dawned on me what it’s like to be a police officer, to be in a place where you were moved and motivated to your best to literally give everything that you have of yourself for the sake of somebody else. And now sitting in a hospital where I see somebody who’s been shot, I see the officers and how they have this sense of not even camaraderie but real brotherhood and sisterhood, and a recognition that in their minds – you can gain an insight by looking in their eyes and seeing that they’re thinking that could have been any one of us. And I think it created a really unique opportunity for reflection and introspection for me in terms of just, you know, what are the values that I live by? And what does real selflessness mean to me? And, you know, what does it really mean to serve those that you’re serving?

GROSS: Are Muslim police officers concerned that if Donald Trump does enact an immigration ban on Muslims or if he requires Muslims to register with the country that the officers are the ones who will have to enforce it?

LATIF: You know, I’ve had a lot of conversations with different governmental agencies in the city. And I think New York City has taken a stance, as well as New York state, seemingly, that if at a federal level there are iniquitous and unjust law enforcement policies that are going to be enacted that New York City is not going to abide by those. Mayor Bill de Blasio has taken a very forceful stance on that, addressing the city in public gatherings as well as through kind of media interaction and saying that there’s no way he’s going to allow for that to be something that happens in New York City.

I’ve had similar conversations with the New York attorney general, Eric Schneiderman. He’s a really great person that is also a voice that’s speaking against policies such as this. And so I think that’s kind of where New York is at. And hopefully that’s something that’ll stand.

GROSS: So you work with a lot of students and police officers and, as I said, do a lot of public speaking around the country. So in many Muslim countries – and I’m not talking about America here. But in many countries that are, you know, predominantly Muslim, women don’t have full rights. Gay people don’t have full rights. Not that gay people have full rights in the U.S. either. Or maybe women, for that matter. But, I mean, for instance, like, in Saudi Arabia women can’t even drive. In many – in some countries and in some parts of some countries, women can’t show their faces. They have to wear a full-body veil.

So do you find that, like, some students, for instance, like, younger people who are trying to figure out what their own identity is and what they – you know, who they want to be are confused about what it means to be a Muslim because they see what it means in primarily Muslim countries, which can be much more limiting and restrictive than it is in the United States?

LATIF: You know, I think the identity issues that young Muslims and older Muslims have around what it means to be Muslim, those exist. But I wouldn’t say that they exist because of how cultures distinct from one’s own culture chooses to practice faith or at times restricts one from practicing faith in the way that they would want to. And there’s a billion and a half Muslims in the world, and their relationship to faith is heavily influenced by kind of the culture in which faith is practiced.

So, you know, I think one of the best ways it was described to me is that the relationship that Islam has to culture is similar to the relationship that water or a stream, a river would have to the bedrock that it flows over in the sense that the water takes on the color of the rock that it’s passing over. And so, too, Islam looks like the culture that it’s practiced in. So Islam in China looks Chinese. Islam in Malaysia looks Malaysian. Islam in Turkey looks Turkish. Islam in Singapore looks Singaporean.

What I’ve seen in terms of traveling around the world, visiting Muslim majority countries as well as countries where Muslims are a gross minority, is that a lot of people live very differently from the way that we live in the United States. And for us to be able to understand the complexity as to why certain places are the way that they are necessitates at times for us to kind of be with those people rather than just being with our preconceived ideas and notions of them.

And that’s by no means to justify or to pretend like there aren’t inequities, gross oppressions and injustices that exist, but to be able to understand then, well, what do we do with the recognition of those? And how do we create an understanding as to how we can build real remedies to those things?

GROSS: Was being Muslim an important part of your identity when you were growing up?

LATIF: You know, as a young person, I didn’t really have any Muslim friends. I went to a school where I was one of two Muslim students. And I had a relationship to Islam, but I don’t think I necessarily had so much of a sense of ownership over it. I’ll give you an example anecdotally. My brother and I, we went to visit my grandmother in Pakistan, where my family’s from, when I was around 12 years old. It was after my grandfather had passed away.

And I was walking through the streets of Pakistan with my brother, and I was wearing these really baggy jeans and I had on Timberland boots. Back then, I had this really long Pantene Pro-V kind of hair – it was very wavy and shiny – that I miss very much these days. I was wearing a baseball hat backwards. And to say the least, I wasn’t really dressed the way everybody else was dressed.

And there was a boy that I saw as we were walking down the street who was probably about 4 years old. He was wearing cultural attire called a salwar kameez, a very loose shirt that went down below the knees and matching pants. It was, like, a greenish color clothing that he was wearing. And he was just staring at me. And when I got really close to him, he kind of craned his head backwards and screamed on the top of his lungs in Urdu, the language that’s spoken there, (speaking Urdu) that Michael Jackson is here. And then he and his friends started chasing me up and down the street because they thought I was Michael Jackson.

But I think, you know, in retrospect, I didn’t really fit in there. The place where my parents were from, the place where my grandparents lived is a place I had a connection to. I had a certain affinity to it. But it still wasn’t my space, so to speak. And the challenge was in trying to reconcile that with the idea that so many people also felt that someone like me didn’t belong in the country that I was born into. And if I didn’t fit in where my parents came from and I was made to feel as if I couldn’t be myself in the country that I was from, where would I really go?

GROSS: So your parents immigrated from Pakistan. My impression is that they were relatively secular when you were growing up. You can correct me if I’m wrong.

LATIF: No, no. They – I mean, my father prayed. My mother prayed. You know, they taught us how to read the Quran. We fasted in our month of fasting. So I wouldn’t say that they were secular.

GROSS: Do you feel like your approach to practicing Islam is different from how you were brought up? And I guess what I’m trying to say is do you feel like you’ve found a way of practicing Islam that speaks to your generation, that speaks to who you are as, you know, American-born and as somebody who grew up – what? – in the ’80s?

LATIF: Sure.

GROSS: ’80s? ’90s?

LATIF: I was born in 1982.

GROSS: Oh, OK.

LATIF: But, you know, I think what’s embedded in this is one of the problematic narratives that Muslims face, right? My parents were still practicing Islam even when my mother didn’t wear a headscarf or my father didn’t have a long beard. And I think what we see is the shaping of who Muslims are in this kind of very homogenous way that says a practicing Muslim only looks like this. That’s why I think a series like “The Secret Lives Of Muslims” is so important is because it gives us insight into multiple narratives that help us to think much bigger than a Muslim is somebody who lives 500 miles away or 500 years in the past.

I mean, I think when we’re able to convey to people in general – Muslims included, as well as people who come from different backgrounds – that Muslims are pretty much everything that you could think people would be. So politically Muslims are Democrats. They’re – for some reason – Republican. They’re independents. You know, they’re people who are young and old, male and female, every race, every ethnicity, every profession that you could think of. They’re wealthy. They’re poor. They’re in between. And so it’s hard to say that there is an Islam that somehow indicates somebody’s level of commitment to the religion or will somehow suddenly be something that can speak more broadly for all Muslims because Muslims are just so different from one another.

GROSS: Can you mention one of the passages from the Quran that really resonates with you as a – you know, as an American-born Muslim who really came into your faith when you were a student? And now you’re an imam and a chaplain, so, like, you’ve grown deeper into your faith, but you live in a very, like, contemporary American world.

I mean, from what I know of you, you love hip-hop. You and your wife – when she was pregnant – watched “The Walking Dead” a lot and caught up on the series when she started to go into labor (laughter), when you were waiting to actually get to the hospital. So, I mean, you know, you’re certainly not turning your back on American popular culture. Like, you’re in it. You’re interested. You don’t see that as being antithetical to practicing your faith. So give us an example of a passage from the Quran that you feel speaks to you as a contemporary American that – you know, living in the world.

LATIF: Yeah, I mean, there’s so many. You know, I think one of the passages when I was younger that really spoke to me in terms of just shaping for me an understanding around diversity says – addressing all of humanity – it says, oh, humanity, we – meaning God – have made you as male and female and created you in nations and tribes so that you might know one another. Indeed, the most elevated of you is the one who has the most kind of mindfulness and consciousness of God. And I think as I go back to that verse, you know, a lot of words get lost in translation. The part that says to know one another as distinct nations and tribes uses the Arabic word – it says (speaking Arabic). And in Arabic, you have a lot of words that mean know and think.

So one of the ways you could tell that something’s important to the Arab people is just the number of different ways that they have to say a certain word. There’s, like, a hundred different ways to say the word horse and camel. There’s a lot of different ways to say the word love. And thinking, knowing, reflecting has a lot of different words in the Arabic language.

And so, you know, to know something in terms of knowledge, you would use the word (speaking Arabic). Understanding – if, you know, I said to you, do you get what I’m saying, you would use the word (speaking Arabic). And here the word (speaking Arabic), you know, it’s not just I know but I have, like, a deep acquaintanceship, a familiarity, you know, an understanding that is experiential. And that’s the way the Quran is telling us that we should know people who are different from us, not just through kind of simplistic understanding but to have some semblance of knowledge that is tied to actual interaction.

GROSS: Well, Khalid Latif, thank you so much for talking with us.

LATIF: Thank you for having me.

Copyright © 2017 NPR. All rights reserved. Visit our website terms of use and permissions pages at www.npr.org for further information. NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by Verb8tm, Inc., an NPR contractor, and produced using a proprietary transcription process developed with NPR. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.

How to stop the cycle of hate, by Imam Khalid Latif

Almost daily there are news reports of hate crimes against Muslims in the United States, the United Kingdom and elsewhere, as well as news of mass terrorist attacks against Muslims in countries like Iraq, Turkey and Bangladesh. Imam Khalid Latif reflects in this article originally published on CNN.

This morning, I woke up to images and stories outlining numerous hate crimes taken place against Muslims in cities throughout the United States just in the last 10 hours. Two Muslim teenagers assaulted in Brooklyn, New York outside of a mosque while the assailant called them “terrorist”, a Muslim doctor ambushed and shot in Houston Texas by three men as he went for morning prayers, and another Muslim beaten in Fort Pierce Florida right outside of an Islamic Center there. These are just the stories reported and that took place less than a day ago. That’s in addition to so many more reported over the last weeks and months, and so many more that just aren’t reported.

Don’t Be A Passive Bystander

If you see something, say something has to mean something different to us today. If you see bigotry, say something. If you see hatred, say something. If you see racism, say something. You and I have to be the change that this world needs. We cannot adopt a bitterness or passivity that lets people who have no interest other than their own self-interest succeed
A failure to acknowledge and deal with illness doesn’t mean that it’s not there. I can pretend like I’m not sick, but my body will let me know otherwise. We can pretend like our society is not in pain and in need of healing, but atrocities like those that took place just even last night will let us know otherwise. The anti-Muslim sentiment in the United States isn’t just rising, it’s really high. An unwillingness and indifference on the part of individuals and institutions to put it in check is a large part of the problem.

Our Sense of Compassion Is Being Obliterated

Our indifference to the narratives of those distinct from our own coupled with our own egocentric priorities places us in the reality that we find ourselves in. Issues of race, class and privilege are the roots of our ailments, and an unwillingness to recognize it is leading us to a terrible place. With every assault, every hate crime, every death, our sense of compassion is being obliterated. With every failure to remedy injustice, we add to the pain. These assailants knew that they were going to attack Muslims. They knew they would find them at the mosques at those specific times. For what reason then with will there be a hesitancy in labeling their actions as anything but a hate crime?
More likely than not we won’t see an outcry against these actions by political leaders of any kind. There will be a continued utilization of Islam as a political football by those who have no real interest in anything other than their own self-interest. Letting hate prevail seemingly didn’t work as a solution to stopping hate, but seemingly that isn’t an issue.
In my opinion if you don’t speak out against it you’re just as bad as the person who is saying it in the first place. What do you think it teaches people when senior officials of major political parties throughout the country are either espousing, and in turn justifying, hatred against Muslims through their words or their silence? What does it teach a broader society about the worth and designation of a population that is over 1.5 billion in number throughout this world?

What Message Are We Sending Out?

The same thing that it teaches the broader society when mosques are kept from being open and built, when unjust surveillance and profiling policies are legitimized and implemented, when media has no problem making cursory links of every and any Muslim to terrorism, but dig deep to connect people of other backgrounds to troubled childhoods and mental health issues, and when politicians are allowed to build racist campaign platforms taking advantage of fear and ignorance. It teaches them that it’s ok for Muslims to be treated differently, to in fact be mistreated, simply because they are Muslim, and that there is no problem with that.
There is, in fact, a huge problem with it.

This Isn’t Just A Muslim Thing

If you think my anger and frustration is only because that there were Muslims who were attacked, then you don’t get it. I feel for these people because they are people. I feel for these people as I feel for Orlando. I feel for these people as I feel for Baltimore, Ferguson and Chicago. I feel for these people as I feel for Turkey, Bangladesh, Iraq and Syria. I feel for these people as I feel for anyone who finds themselves in any type of affliction or conflict. We have seen minorities of all backgrounds get vilified more and more and things have gotten to a point where assaults and even death doesn’t bring about a recognition of their value as humans. We have seen shooting after shooting take place in this country, increasing directly along with our country’s legislators unwillingness to speak about gun control. My anger and frustration stems from the fact that with every act of hatred and our failed responses to it, indifference is becoming more alive and in the process our shared humanity is dying.
Will there be droves of leaders marching in the streets, elbowing each other to make sure they stand at the front of the pack and let the world know that they are outraged by the assaults on Muslims throughout the country? Will they hold vigils to speak out against the realities of hate and address the deeper, systemic issues around race, ethnicity and privilege or even give a simple nod to the signs and symptoms around us indicating their existence? Probably not. But will you stand up, simply because you are able to and it’s the right thing to do?
I am a Muslim. I work as the University Chaplain for New York University. I serve as a Chaplain for the New York City Police Department and am given the rank of inspector. I have traveled on behalf of the State Department, met with the heads of homeland security, senior white house officials and even President Obama himself, shared stages with the likes of Pope Francis and the Dalai lama. I am still one of the many Muslims in this country who have been detained, profiled and surveilled. My home has been visited by the FBI on numerous occasions where I have been told that I am being watched because I am too good to be true. As much as I am seen as antidote, I am first still seen as a poison for no other reason that I choose to practice the faith that I do. That is not ok. But I still believe that we can and will be better.

Be The Change You Want To See

Healing requires admitting we are sick. You and I are a bigger part of the cure than we might realize. On the eve of our Independence Day, we as a nation have a choice to make. At a time when we are still debating whether Black Lives Matter or not, candidates for the highest offices of our land make statements that indicate they speak for and to only a select group of Americans. We can no longer let our perspectives of each other be fueled through a media machine that seeks to sensationalize and bombard readers and viewers with narrative that serves to only segment and antagonize even further. The amplification of extreme voices has to be drowned out by our coming together. The ignorance of ISIS or the Republican right can no longer be the basis of how we function in diverse societies. We must learn the reality of struggles faced by those around us by actually being with them, as opposed to simply through the biased images that are cast in front of us every day. We do not have to be women to stand up women’s rights, black to stand up for black rights, or Muslim to stand up for Muslim rights. An attack on any of us is an attack on all of us. I said it before and I’ll say it again, if you see something, say something has to mean something different to us today. If you see bigotry, say something. If you see hatred, say something. If you see racism, say something. You and I have to be the change that this world needs. We cannot adopt a bitterness or passivity that lets people who have no interest other than their own self-interest succeed. We cannot lose hope – tomorrow will be better than today so long as you do our part. Our coming together of today is only meaningful if we continue to come together tomorrow. Let us be the reason that people have continued hope in this world, and never the reason people dread it.

Resources for seekers:

What Motivates Someone To Avoid Food And Drink For So Many Hours? Imam Khalid Latif

What seems like hours on end without food and water;  days and nights in continuous worship and restraint…what are the motivating factors of Ramadan? Why take part in it? What do I get out of it? And how do I sustain it?

Join Imam Khalid Latif on an introspective exploration on the meanings and motivations behind Ramadan, its nature, illuminations and nurturing their sustainability in our daily lives.

Resources for Seekers:

 

Cover Photo by Nikhil Singh. We are grateful to ICNYU for this video.

The Prayer That Brought RIS 2015 to a standstill

khalid Latid dua at RIS
Ya Allah, our Lord, Most Merciful of those who show mercy, instill within us courage as we start this day.
Our struggles are real, but Your Promise is true. Indeed with hardship, there always comes ease. Remove from our hearts any fears or inhibitions, and replace them with an ever-increasing boldness to live each moment as best as we can.
Grant us the courage to express our feelings, to let those that we love know how valuable they are to us, to seek forgiveness from those that we have wronged, and to exert mercy towards those who have wronged us.
The burdens of life sometimes seem to heavy to bear. The anxiety and anguish that sits inside of us feels bigger at times than the world around us. Give us audacious hearts that can overcome that pain inside – hearts that help us to carry each burden with ease, regardless of how heavy it seems. Make us not from amongst those who are sheltered from life’s realities, but rather amongst those who are not afraid to face them.
Bring people into our lives that we love so much that our love for them moves us to be courageous but not foolish. People who we love so much that our dedication to their well-being is rooted in wisdom and mindfulness. Make us people who find strength through selflessness not selfishness, sincerity not self-centeredness.
Grant us the courage to stand again after we have fallen, to find meaning in our failures, and to keep moving forward no matter what is trying to push us down. Grant us the courage to put our trust in You, whether we understand or not, and the courage to recognize and feel the depth of Your Love. Help us to harness that Love and utilize it to illuminate the darkest of places we might have to venture in, both in the world around us and the world within us.
Grant us the courage to live our own lives, to understand our role in the writing of our own stories, to make decisions with foresight and insight, and before each step we take in this world, to remember we will have a life in the world beyond this one.
Grant us the courage to forgive ourselves and to live a life in pursuit of true contentment, the courage to ask You to remove from our lives anything that distracts us, gives us only complacency, or satisfies only our wants at the expense of our real needs.
Love Your creation through us. Be gentle to them through us. Increase them in strength through us. Give them courage through us. Help them grow through us. Endow them with confidence through us.. Fill them with sincerity through us. Protect them through us. And us them bring good and benefit to the rest of us and this world – Most Merciful of those who show mercy.
Let our anger be only at injustice, oppression and exploitation of people so that we will work for justice, equality and peace.
Let our tears shed only for those who suffer from pain, rejection, starvation and conflict, so that we will reach out our hands to comfort them and change their pain into joy.
And let our successes be many as we make a difference in this world by doing the things which others say cannot be done.
You are with us always, Ya Allah. Help us on this day to recognize Your Presence, and through it give us the courage to meet the challenges of this day and those of every tomorrow that we will see.
Protect us always from hearts that are not humble, tongues that are not wise and eyes that have forgotten how to cry.
Forgive us for our shortcomings, and guide and bless us all.
Ameen.

Transcript of the dua made by Imam Khalid Latif, of New York, at the 2015 Reviving the Islamic Spirit (RIS) convention in Toronto, Canada.

Resources for seekers:

“Work for God and not for your stomachs” – meeting the Pope

“Work for God and not for your stomachs.”

These words of Jesus, as recorded in Muslim scholarship, offer critical advice in a modern world dominated by greed and ego. By working for God, one makes the greater good their ultimate aim, leaving aside merely personal interests for those that bring wholeness, beauty and wisdom to the community at large – then, ultimately, back to oneself.

In a world dominated by a culture of ‘me, myself and I,’ that is no small task. With the tide of popular culture and the mass media moving against traditional values like selflessness and charity, Muslims hoping to embody the above wisdom need partners in their efforts to bring light into our societies. One of the critical partners for that task, according to many scholars, are those who also love the man who uttered the above words: the Catholic Church and its millions of followers.

Khalid-Latif-PopeRecent events confirm this. Imam Khalid Latif, executive director of NYU’s Islamic Center, met with Pope Francis during the pontiff’s U.S. tour in September. He came away from the meeting further convinced that the door to a deeper relationship between the Muslim and Catholic communities is not only possible but necessary.

A pope with a history of warm interactions with the Muslim community, Pope Francis touched the hearts of many when he began his evening prayer in New York’s St. Patrick’s Cathedral by going offscript and making a spontaneous supplication for the Muslims who died during the Hajj. His outreach to Muslim communities has been deeper, however, as he has also called on all of Europe’s 120,000 parishes to each take in one family of Syrian refugees – the vast majority of those refugees being Muslims.

To take the hands of people such as this is essential, said Imam Khalid, if we want to emulate the Prophetic model in creating the institutions needed to support a flourishing society.

“The underlying premise of sharia is the increase in benefit and the reduce in detriment. For me personally, I would say that that is without condition or qualification. If you have a means and ability to be of assistance and be helping others, then you want to be able to do so just because it’s the right thing to do,” said Imam Khalid, also chaplain at NYU and the NYPD.

“There are many indiviudals that need for us to be able to understand their narrative and reality so that we can either build with them or that we can build for them.”

A Deeper Partnership

One small example of how interfaith partnerships can have a tangible impact on society is in Imam Khalid’s work with various religious groups to take on sex trafficking and poverty. Other examples include multi-faith coalitions providing support for Syrian refugees in different parts of the world. In working with these groups, one is inspired to take take one’s own sincerity in such acts to a higher level.

Muslim-Christian-cross-crescent“When you have partners who understand where you’re coming from, it allows for there to be a different depth to your relationship,” said Imam Khalid on working with other faith groups.

“They’re not seeing it as a PR kind of thing but they actually have a deep-rooted [intention] governed by their moral compass. As an individual, to be in the presence of someone who is motivated through a set of values and principles also becomes important as a learning process.”

While many faiths and philosophies offer rich opportunities as partners for Muslims hoping to improve society, the global Catholic community is an especially important candidate for such a partnership. Shaykh Abdal-Hakim Murad, director of the Cambridge Muslim College and a lecturer at Cambridge University, has often written that as one of the few major groups who still believe in timeless moral absolutes, the Catholic community is a critical ally for Muslims trying to bring mercy and justice into a world filled with ideology and ego.

Additionally, although religiosity has fallen in much of the West, the institution of the Vatican is still highly respected in many secular Western circles, wrote Shaykh Abdal-Hakim. As such, it can play a critical role as an interface of sorts between Muslims and a Western climate threatened by increasing Muslim immigration and experiencing a steady rise of Islamophobia.

“An asset to his community”

This is a reminder that ultimately, engaging with other faith groups not only brings benefit to the society at large, but also brings benefit back to the Muslim community itself. Our history offers many such precedents, said Imam Khalid, a major one being the example of the Prophet’s companion Abu Bakr.

As Abu Bakr was preparing to leave Mecca in order to worship Allah without fear of persecution by the Quraysh, he was stopped by a Meccan man who asked where he was going. Abu Bakr explained he was leaving the city so he could practice his religion freely. The man begged him to stay, saying that he would keep Abu Bakr under his protection from then on. The reason, according to Imam Khalid, was one Muslims today must take to heart: he was an asset to his community.

“The way Abu Bakr lived his Islam, or his life and values, was in a way that the entire population felt his presence,” said Imam Khalid. “And they were then willing to stand up for him because they understood the benefit he brought to them.”

With Pope Francis’s moves of outreach towards the Muslims community now on the table, Imam Khalid said that the Muslim community should mobilize in order to make the most of this situation.

Pope-FrancisLamenting that the Muslim community did not use the 9/11 memorial service as an opportunity to publicize the American Muslim narrative nor use the Pope’s visit to cement the American Muslim community’s relationship with its Catholic peers, Imam Khalid said he hoped that noting these missed opportunities could be a catalyst that prompts better community organization around unique opportunities for interfaith engagement such as this in the future.

He also hoped that the community could work together to not merely respond to outreach from other faiths, but to also begin initiating partnerships with other religious groups.

“There [are] very distinct theolgical differences between any of the world religions,” said Imam Khalid. “But if we [understand the] foundational values we share [we can] then move forward in a way that brings benefit to people in pursuit of the pleasure of the divine.”

Reporting by Nour Merza

 

“Come, come, whoever you are” – Imam Khalid Latif on feeling estranged from the Muslim community

Imam Khalid LatifGrowing up, I didn’t really have a sense of ownership over my religion. To make matters worse, it seemed like I always was doing things that were wrong. There weren’t many that made me think I could be anything better and I felt quite low at times after interacting with some who made me feel I didn’t have a place to belong. The worst part about it all? I believed it. I believed every look of perceived condescension, I believed every murmur and whisper, I believed every glare and judgmental comment and never thought twice about it. It was easier not to. People who “looked” religious thought I was bad and I thought they must have known what they were talking about since they looked the part so well.

In retrospect, there were definitely people who treated me poorly. But I myself also played a role in how I felt by already presuming that I wouldn’t fit in and that people wouldn’t accept me.

It can be quite daunting to walk into a room where you either are different from everyone, or you believe you are different, you know no one, and you are also embarrassed that most of the people there have probably been there for years while you are still trying to figure out the basics. Where most people were in the wrong wasn’t because they were being jerks and making me feel like I shouldn’t have come. The only mistake that most made was not making a concerted effort to realize that there were people like me who were nervous being there and understanding that they could alleviate a lot of that fear just by smiling at me and saying welcome.

The Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “Allah is kind and loves kindness and gives for gentleness what he does not give for harshness nor for anything else.”

The well-known Muslim poet Rumi wrote:

Come, come, whoever you are.
Wanderer, worshipper, lover of leaving — it doesn’t matter,
Ours is not a caravan of despair.
Come, even if you have broken your vow a hundred times,
Come, come again, come. ~ rumi

Not everyone knows everything about their faith, nor are they meant to. But everyone is entitled to being encouraged to do their very best. It’s simple things that keep us together. A kind word or smile can do a lot for someone who is just trying to figure out for themselves where they fit in and belong. It was the kindness of a couple of people that made me believe I could be more than what I thought of myself to be. Let’s start being the reason that someone feels like they can stick around, not the reason that they feel like they should never come back.

Imam Khalid LatifImam Khalid Latif is a University Chaplain for New York University, Executive Director of the Islamic Center at NYU, and a Chaplain for the NYPD. He is also the co-founder of Honest Chops, the first-ever all-natural/organic halal butcher in NYC, the Muslim Wedding Service, an agency specializing in providing charismatic and inspirational marriage officiants for wedding ceremonies.

 

Resources for Seekers:

Is There a Prophetic Supplication to Relieve My Hopelessness?
On Humility and being gentle with the believers
How Do You Know If Your Repentance is Sincere?
The Dowdy Muslim
The Door of Repentance and Return to Allah is Always Open
Having Hatred for a Sinful Person
Is Repentance Always Accepted?
My Husband Doesnt Pray: How Do I Advise Him?
Lesson on the Secrets of Seeking Repentance
Prayer of Repentance: Salat al-Tawba
Is Regret a Blessing from Allah?

Imam Khalid Latif on “Losing Someone Close To You”

grave-coffinThere is a narration that is found in the Islamic tradition in which a companion of the Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, named Abdur Rahman ibn Awf speaks about visiting the Prophet’s infant son, Ibrahim. In this particular narration, he mentions that the Prophet kisses Ibrahim and takes him close, and then later begins to shed tears because Ibrahim is in his last breaths. Abdur Rahman asks about these tears to which the Prophet responds “Oh Ibn Awf, this is mercy.”

The Prophet then cries more and says: “The eyes are shedding tears, and the heart is grieved, and we will not say except what pleases our Lord. Oh Ibrahim! Indeed we are grieved by your separation.”

Losing someone close to us is always a hard situation to deal with. Just as hard is also knowing how to help and support someone who has lost someone close to their hearts. The pain of that separation causes even the hardest of hearts to tremble and puts us in a place where we at times don’t know what to do. The reality of this life being something that is finite comes as a secondary thought as we begin to deal with the aftermath of a heaviness placed upon our hearts. How do I cope or help someone to cope with this loss?

Primarily we want to understand that feeling grief at the loss of loved one is not somehow an absence of faith or a deficiency of it. Faith can actually become a potential source of making sense of the loss, and we lose out on it if we tell ourselves getting sad is somehow wrong. For the Muslims who are reading this, the Prophet Muhammad cried when his son died. None of us would say he is lacking in faith. We shouldn’t tell ourselves or each other that we somehow are lacking faith simply because we are responding the way most humans would respond.

There is no set amount of time that one has to reconcile the loss of a loved one. One can very subjectively make a determination as to how much time they need and telling yourself or someone else that because a certain number of days have passed they should now move forward doesn’t necessarily make sense. Although time is an important factor, reconciliation isn’t purely a product of time and making yourself or someone else feel as if they are doing something problematic by taking the time they need isn’t going to help the situation.

Moving on also does not entail completely forgetting. How we remember becomes key as does what we do through that remembrances. Our hearts will respond to things that remind them of what they hold as beloved. The Prophet Muhammad deeply loved his first wife Khadijah. The year in which she, as well as the Prophet’s uncle Abu Talib, passes away becomes known as the “Year of Grief.” Khadijah definitely had a special place in the Prophet’s heart and his “moving on” did not entail forgetting her. On one instance after her passing, he is sitting with a group of his companions when someone brings to him a necklace. He holds the necklace and recognizes it as once belonging to his wife Khadijah and begins to cry as he remembers her.

He builds upon this remembrance through his action. After Khadijah’s passing, the Prophet would regularly send gifts to her family and friends. He would speak of her and mention how important she was to him. His moving on did not include forgetting entirely. Our moving on doesn’t have to either.

We can remember those that we have lost through actions undertaken through their remembrance; coming together to remember and doing good in their memory. Islam teaches its practitioner that even after a person has passed, those who remain in this world can bring benefit to them by performance of deeds on their behalf. I can give of myself with the sole intention that the person I have lost should be the benefactor of any reward from my actions and in the process I still maintain a relationship with the one I love while at the same time bringing their presence into the lives of others.

Losing someone close to you can definitely be tough. Whether it’s a parent, a child, a friend, or really anyone, that loss hurts. You don’t have to deny that pain and you can take your time to deal with it. But just keep in mind that although the person is not physically there, they can still be present in your life and the lives of many others, based off of how you remember them.

Imam Khalid LatifImam Khalid Latif is a University Chaplain for New York University, Executive Director of the Islamic Center at NYU, and a Chaplain for the NYPD. He is also the co-founder of Honest Chops, the first-ever all-natural/organic halal butcher in NYC, the Muslim Wedding Service, an agency specializing in providing charismatic and inspirational marriage officiants for wedding ceremonies.

 

Resources for Seekers:

The Loss of a Child: Seeking & Turning to Allah in Difficult Times
Basic Rulings and Length of the Waiting Period (`idda)
The Ruling on Women Visiting Graves and Etiquettes of Visiting
How Can I Deal with Several Pregnancy Losses?
How Do We Deal With the Death of a Loved One?
How To Benefit from Remembering Death?
How to Deal With a Non-Muslim Relative’s Death
How To Overcome My Fear of Death?
The Soul’s Journey after Death and The Day of Judgement
Dealing With Anxiety About Death and Dying
Dealing with Death: Inward & Outward Manners
How Do I Deal With Excessive Fear Of Death?