Friday, February 22, 2008

Black History Month: African Americans and Islam

Black History Month: African Americans and Islam

One would think that by the way Islam is made to appear foreign to the “American” way of life that Muslims are new to American society. It amazes me that there is such a candid discourse of how anti-American Islam is and of the potential for a clash of civilizations when there are Muslims who have been living in this country and practicing their religion for over 30 years and not just immigrant Muslims from other countries but indigenous African American Muslims. They’ve been working along side their fellow citizens, paying their taxes, sending their children to school and worrying about the same things that we all worry about, and yet they seem to go unacknowledged.

Having practiced Islam for 10 years, I’m unable to include myself among that generation of Muslims, although I have been inspired and encouraged by their stories, some of them famous and some of them not so famous; many of them having grown up during the era of Jim Crow, having survived the tumultuous changes of the 1960’s and 70’s, and now having witnessed the dawning of a new century are addressing new challenges and realizing the fulfillment of new promises.

During this month when we reflect on the contributions of our African American ancestors to American society and to the betterment of the human family I honor the Muslims that have come before me with gratitude to Allah Ta’aala for the great things, large and small, that He has allowed them to accomplish on our behalf.


Mainstream Islam in the African-American Experience

Islam in America: From African Slaves to Malcolm X


Islam in the United States of America
by Sulayman Nyang

The Autobiography of Malcolm X
by Malcolm X

African American Islam
by Aminah McCloud

Islam, Black Nationalism and Slavery: A Detailed History
by Adib Rashad (Author), Sulayman S. Nyang (Introduction)

Servants of Allah: African Muslims Enslaved in the Americas
by Sylviane Diouf

African Muslims in Antebellum America: Transatlantic Stories and Spiritual Struggles
by Allan D. Austin

Life Reminders

Psalm 145:8-9 The Lord is Gracious and Merciful
The Lord is Gracious and Merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love. The Lord is good to all, and His Compassion is over all that He has made.

Matthew 11:28 Gentleness and Humility
“Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

Surah 33:21 Beautiful Pattern of Conduct
Ye have indeed in the Messenger of Allah a beautiful pattern of conduct for any one whose hope is in Allah and the Final Day, and who engages much in the Praise of Allah.

Sahih Muslim, Book Unknown: Changing an Evil Action
“Whosoever of you sees an evil action, let him change it with his hand; and if he is not able to do so, then with his tongue; and if he is not able to do so, then with his heart; and that is the weakest of faith.”

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