[Flickr] Here, Muslim women are hosting a workshop (majlis, or halaqa) discussing “Women & Social Responsibilities” in which topics such as social responsibility, freedom for women, and individualistic, personal roles have been pin-pointed.
In this article, Dr. Zehra ( executive committee member of the AIMPLB) said that Muslims lag behind in education which is largely responsible for most of the problems faced by the community.
We need more of this, like a lot more. And what I love about this is that Muslim women are the hostesses of this discussion, not men. Love!
People in Islam — Samina Ali, an advocate for women’s rights.
Samina Ali, an Indian born Muslim who lives in San Francisco, is one of the most bravest women we have a part of our religious community today. Founder of an online exhibition titled: International Museum of Women “Muslima,” Samina is also a writer and a blogger, in which you can find her twitter here.
After reading an interview with Samina on the Economist newsletter, I have found Samina to be a great, reliable heroine of our century. She promotes stability, empowerment, and structure within the Muslim community and uses the internet as a tool to achieve that.
After scrolling through this exhibition that’s promoted online, which you can find here, I have found Samina’s project to be an extraordinary achievement for the Muslim Ummah.
I hope that some day, she gets the exposure she deserves and continues to advocate for the right to be heard.
if you have any islamic questions related to science, you can ask our brother Haedar who is a Muslim scientist and close to graduating with is PhD inshaAllah.
People in Islam: Ani Zonneveld
A Malaysian-born singer, Sister Ani Zonneveld is a Grammy Award winning musician and LGBT-rights, interfaith activist within the Muslim community, being the president and co-founder of Muslims for Progressive Values and editor of the book Progressive Muslim Stories.
If you would like to know more about Ani Zonneveld, you can find her website here.
People in Islam - Sheikh Ebrahim Gabriels : Scholar, Activist, teacher
Sheikh Ebrahim Gabriels is a South African Islamic Scholar known for his passion for the Palestinian cause. This passion for Palestine was born out of his own experience with the South African Apartheid regime, which had forcibly removed him and his family from their lush home in Claremont, Cape Town, to a suburb on the overcrowded Cape Flats.
It was here on the Cape flats, that Gabriels met his Ustaath, Imam Ismail Johnstone. The alim served as a great inspiration to the young Gabriels, and urged him to study Arabic and the deen of Islam. He subsequently spent nine years studying Islam in the city of our beloved Prophet (pbuh), Medina. He graduated from the faculty of Shar’iah in 1987. In addition, he holds a BA degree in Theology.
Gabriels went on to become the President of the Muslim Judicial Council (MJC) of South Africa and President of the United Ulema council of South Africa (uucsa). As president of the respective bodies, Gabriels led extensive outreach programs to various communities, and provided much needed guidance to the Muslim community.
One of his main concerns for the Muslim community is the manner in which parents raise their children. “I honestly feel we are not doing enough to contribute to our children’s spiritual development. In fact many parents think that seeing to their children’s worldly needs is where their responsibilities end,” stated the Alim.
This concern spurred him to get involved in various Islamic education institutions, to assist, teach and guide parents and children. Gabriels is currently the president of the Darul Arqam Islamic High School in Mitchell’s Plain, Cape Town.
His work for Palestine, sees the Alim appearing on various radio stations across the country, calling on the South African community to support the BDS Campaign. He has led various Humanitarian Aid conveys to Palestine, including Miles4Smiles and Africa 2 Gaza Aid Convoy.
He is currently the Director of the Al Aqsa Foundation South Africa, and has been Imam at the Portlands mosque in Mitchell’s plan for 19 years.
Gabriels loves teaching and working with disadvantaged communities. He is still actively involved in the MJC, and travels to Palestine regularly.
People in Islam - Moulana Igsaan Hendricks : Scholar, activist
Moulana Igsaan Hendricks is the current president of the Muslim Judicial Council of South Africa. An Ulama body which provides religious authority within the country. Hendricks assumed the presidency from esteemed Islamic scholar and Palestinian activist, Sheikh Ebrahim Gabriels.
Under Hendricks authority the MJC has seeked to promote the value system of Islam and provide guidance to the Muslim community, based on the Shari’ah of Islam, the Sunnah, Ijmaa and Qiyaas, with due reference to the Four schools of Jurisprudence which are recognized by the Ahli Sunnah Wal Jama’ah.
He has personally undertaken the task of enhancing stability, peace and harmony throughout the Western Cape community, stretching across racial and religious lines. Under his leadership the Muslim community in Cape Town faced one of its biggest challenges, the “Orion Scandal”. In short, non-halal food was labelled as halal, and the MJC, which is a halal authorizing body, faced extensive criticism, both from within the community and from mainstream media.
Through confident reassurance and a venerated leadership, Hendricks weathered the storm and steered the MJC and the community through the crisis.
Hendricks appears regularly on a local community radio station, Voice of the Cape, where he speaks assertively about compassion, tolerance and spirituality within the Muslim community
He is also the National Director of the Al-Quds Foundation South Africa and head of the Africa 1 Gaza Aid Convoy.
People in Islam — Leila Ahmed: writer, activist, spokesperson
Leila Ahmed, one of the most prominent Muslim female scholars in the contemporary world, is a powerful figure to hundreds of thousands of Muslims and non Muslims alike.
Born to a Turkish woman and Egyptian father, Leila Ahmed is an Egyptian American writer on Islam and Islamic feminism. After reading her great work, Women and Gender in Islam, I’ve come to particularly admire all that Leila Ahmed presents in terms of intellectual discourse and studies.
According to several sources, Leila Ahmed earned her doctorate degree from the University of Cambridge; when she moved to the U.S, she was appointed professorship in Women’s Studies at University of Massachusetts Amherst. By 1999, Sr. Leila taught Women’s Studies and Religion at Harvard Divinity School, earning many certificates of recognition for her hard work in teaching and writing, which you can read more about here.
Arooj Aftab innovates off classical Pakistani, Sufi & pre-partition South Asian music, creating original compositions honoring ancestral roots,for a sound that is fresh, graceful, and musically complex. Paying homage to classical sufi legends such as Abida Parveen and Reshma; neo-soul and jazz icons such as Sade and Ella Fitzgerald; and contemporary world musicians such as Marisa Monte and Fat Freddy’s Drop, Arooj presents an original, interactive sound embraced by young and old, South Asian and beyond.
Originally from Lahore, Pakistan, Arooj moved to the U.S. in 2005 to study Music Production and Engineering at Berklee College of Music. Having completed her education and now based in New York, Arooj is working as a fulltime performing artist, music composer and sound editor.
Through exposure to diverse musical genres and incredibly talented artists in Boston and in New York City, Arooj is inspired to continuously develop her art and deepen her understanding of the possibilities of music. Layering subtle, intricate, dynamic vocals over acoustic instrumentation, Arooj skillfully re-imagines indigenous soul with signature ‘cool.’
Arooj will soon be releasing her debut album as part of Rebuild Pakistan, an initiative she created to promote a vision of peace and healing for Pakistan, inspiring a global community to rebuild perspective on Pakistan, and urging the people of Pakistan to actively engage in rebuilding their homeland. The album and the initiative harness collective creativity to express solidarity with politically stigmatized, economically marginalized, culturally and spiritually powerful people across the earth.
People in Islam: Imam Suhaib Webb - Lecturer, Activist, Imam & Scholar
Suhaib Webb is one of the most influential of contemporary scholars in the U.S. and has impacted the lives of thousands in his journey through Islam. Imam Suhaib Webb went from a pre-Islam life of gangs, shootings and a career of DJ-ing to his spiritual awakening and conversion to Islam in 1992, after which he pursued a bachelor’s in Education from the University of Central Oklahoma. Suhaib Webb eventually got his education in Fiqh, Shariah, Islamic knowledge and the Arabic language from the world renowned Al-Azhar University in Cairo, Egypt.
Prior to his current posting as the Imam of the extremely influential Islamic Society of Boston Cultural Center (ISBCC), Suhaib Webb had been active in numerous causes dealing with American youth and reverts, seeing as how he could genuinely relate to some of the most pressing troubles they might face in today’s society. Personally, Suhaib Webb has truly inspired me and helped me reach out to the spiritual side of my deen. Alongside Sheikh Hamza Yusuf, Imam Zaid Shakir, Usama Canon, and the like, Suhaib Webb sought to popularize the spread of the softer side of Islam and reach out to the younger generation of the Bay Area, California. Their talks and lectures sparked somewhat of a movement in the youth of the West Coast that still resonates throughout the country. The message of acceptance, peace, serenity, knowledge and wisdom became a central essence of most of the lectures we hear from these folks today. His move to the ISBCC as an Imam was met with bittersweet partings and most of us in the Bay Area still feel the loss of a great Scholar.
However, before he left, he started a website that he hoped could serve as a virtual mosque experience where people could read, ask, learn, and relate. Visit the website, look around, and learn more about Imam Suhaib Webb and his influence across the country.
People in Islam: Salma Hosseini — first female trainer and medalist in Afghanistan
A profound and brave woman, Salma Hosseini, was recorded as the first female trainer and medalist in Afghanistan. Growing up in Afghanistan, but fleeing to Iran after the war that erupted in Afghanistan, Salma — wherever she has been — has been completely dedicated to her work and aspirations regarding self defense, serving her people, and standing up for her country.
Salma,a member of the National Youth Team in Kabul, volunteer at the Haidari Club, and the coach for the National Women’s Team in Kabul is truly an inspiring individual. To listen to more of her story, click here. To read an article regarding her work, read here.