History of women’s rights in Islam

Women’s rights have been a controversial topic throughout history. In Islam, men and women have similar rights, and in some areas women actually enjoy certain privileges that the men do not. In terms of property, married and divorced women have been given rights, and in fact at each turn they have been considered and provided for as appropriate. It is true to say that Islam gave women rights that are unparalleled in the history of women.

Prophet Muhammad said, “A person who is blessed with a daughter or daughters and makes no discrimination between them and his sons and brings them up with kindness and affection, will be as close to me in Paradise as my forefinger and middle finger are to each other.”

The Holy Quran repeatedly proclaims men and women’s equality in spiritual status: “But who so does good works, whether male or female, and is a believer, such shall enter Heaven.” (Ch.4: V.125)

Regarding education for girls, Prophet Muhammad said: “It is the duty of every Muslim man and every Muslim woman to acquire knowledge.” On the economic front, Islam entitles women to possess money, property and other assets.

FULL ARTICLE FROM THE POST-GAZETTE (PITTSBURG)

Keeping COVID in mind, area Muslims plan for a safe but more communal Ramadan

Many area Muslims are preparing for their second Ramadan of the pandemic, with hope that the month of dawn-to-dusk fasting will be filled with the communal prayers and family gatherings they went without last year, as COVID-19 began to sweep the state.

Last year, there was no prayer [in the mosque],” said Ali Suleiman Ali, the imam of the Muslim Community of the Western Suburbs of Detroit in Canton. “Everybody [came to] understand the importance of community, the importance [of] coming together.”Imam Ali Suleiman Ali of the Muslim Community of the Western Suburbs of Detroit said the mosque will discontinue its socially-distanced prayers if necessary during Ramadan.

This year, he said, the mosque will allow congregants to partake in the optional nighttime worship that is part of Ramadan tradition, but, instead of standing shoulder-to-shoulder, there will be a divide of six feet between each person. Ali said the mosque will not host the evening meal that marks the end of the fast or offer additional lectures and activities as it did before the pandemic.

“All we are going to do is to pray,” he said. “After the prayer, everybody goes home.”

Even with the limited offerings, Ali said that the community would remain vigilant about the current surge in COVID-19 infections in the region, and cancel in-person gatherings if necessary.

FULL ARTICLE FROM MICHIGAN RADIO

Ramadan 2021: 9 questions about the Muslim holy month you were too embarrassed to ask

This year, Ramadan starts on April 12. But what is Ramadan? How does fasting work? Your questions, answered.By Jennifer Williams@jenn_ruthjennifer@vox.com  Updated Apr 8, 2021, 8:07am EDT

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The Muslim holy month of Ramadan starts on Monday, April 12, and even amid a global pandemic, most of the world’s 1.6 billion Muslims will observe it in some form.

Which means there’s a good chance you might encounter someone — a friend, a coworker, a neighbor, your child’s teacher — who will be celebrating, fasting, and doing all sorts of other activities that are unique to the holy month.

But what is Ramadan, exactly? What’s the deal with fasting? And is there anything special you should do or say when you’re around Muslim friends and acquaintances during Ramadan?

Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered: Here are the most basic answers to the most basic questions about Ramadan.

1) What is Ramadan actually about?

Ramadan is the most sacred month of the year for Muslims — the Prophet Mohammed reportedly said, “When the month of Ramadan starts, the gates of heaven are opened and the gates of hell are closed and the devils are chained.”

FULL ARTICLE FROM VOX

Civil rights groups flagged dozens of anti-Muslim pages and groups to Facebook that stayed up, lawsuit alleges

Suit says the company made false claims to consumers by promising, at congressional hearings, that it quickly removes hate groups and hate speech

By Elizabeth DwoskinApril 8, 2021 at 11:14 a.m. EDT

Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg was “making false and deceptive statements” when he told Congress that the company removes content that violates its hate-speech rules, a lawsuit alleges.

The suit, filed Thursday in D.C. Superior Court, alleges that since 2017, civil rights groups and other experts have brought hundreds of anti-Muslim groups and pages on the platform to Facebook’s attention, but that the company has failed to penalize more than half of them.

It also alleges that Facebook and its top executives violated the D.C. Consumer Protection Procedures Act, under which it is illegal for a company to make material misrepresentations about a good or service. Civil rights group Muslim Advocates, the law firm Gupta Wessler and University of Chicago law professor Aziz Z. Huq brought the suit.

“Every day, ordinary people are bombarded with harmful content that violates Facebook’s own policies on hate speech, bullying, harassment, dangerous organizations, and violence,” the suit alleges. “The anti-Muslim hate that’s pervasive on Facebook presents an enormous problem — both online and in real life.”

Facebook has created an atmosphere where “Muslims feel under siege,” the suit says.

FULL ARTICLE FROM THE WASHINGTON POST

PEACE FEASTS: A NEW CONNECTION FOR MUSLIM AND CHRISTIAN COLLEGE STUDENTS

Marquette University senior Anna Buckstaff said she appreciates opportunities to meet Muslims and Christians who are interested in connecting around common core values.

The Catholic from Palatine, Illinois, who attended the Lenten Peace Feast in February with Muslims and Christians, said the experience helped her reflect and deepen her understanding of her own faith.

“I really appreciated how the faiths share an emphasis for tradition and value the time spent with family and loved ones,” she said. “I have really enjoyed being exposed to different approaches to care and value God’s creation.”

She is looking forward to the Ramadan Peace Feast, online from 2 – 3:30 p.m. CDT, Sunday, April 18. College students and young professionals are encouraged to participate. Registration is now open.

Peace Feasts, new interfaith meeting experiences, offer Muslim and Christian college students in Wisconsin a chance to learn about each other’s sacred seasons, as well as to connect and build trust. The idea is for young adults of each faith to invite each other to their holiday feasts—this year during the Christian Lent and Muslim Ramadan.

The program is free to participants through financial support from Interfaith Youth Core, described on its website as “a national non-profit working towards an America where people of different faiths, worldviews and traditions can bridge differences and find common values to build a shared life together.”

IFYC was founded by Eboo Patel, a Chicago-based author, speaker and educator who said he was “inspired to build this bridge by his identity as an American Muslim navigating a religiously diverse social landscape.”

What to expect

The Ramadan Peace Feast is the second of a series. Young adults who would like to join in are welcomed, whether they attended Part I or not, said Rev. Nicole Wriedt, San Diego program director of Peace Catalyst International, who with Milwaukee-based PCI program director Steve Lied, is the Christian co-organizer for these events. They collaborate with the Milwaukee Muslim Women’s Coalition’s president Janan Najeeb.

FULL ARTICLE FROM WISCONSIN MUSLIM JOURNAL

The Muslims Who Inspired Spinoza, Locke and Defoe

A novel written by a 12th-century Arab writer about a boy alone on an island influenced the Daniel Defoe classic ‘Robinson Crusoe.’

In this age of anxiety, anger and contestations between the West and the Islamic world, many epoch-shaping stories of intellectual exchanges between our cultures are often forgotten.

A powerful example comes from literature. Millions of Christian, Jewish and Muslim readers across the world have read that famed tale of the man stranded alone on an island: “Robinson Crusoe” by Daniel Defoe, the 18th-century British pamphleteer, political activist and novelist.

Few know that in 1708, 11 years before Defoe wrote his celebrated novel, Simon Ockley, an Orientalist scholar at Cambridge University, translated and published a 12th-century Arabic novel, “Hayy ibn Yaqzan,” or “Alive, the Son of Awake,” by Abu Bakr Muhammad ibn Tufayl, an Andalusian-Arab polymath. Writing about the influence of Ibn Tufayl’s novel on Defoe’s “Robinson Crusoe,” Martin Wainwright, a former Guardian editor, remarked, “Tufayl’s footprints mark the great classic.”

Ibn Tufayl’s novel tells the tale of Hayya boy growing up alone on a deserted island, with animals. As he grows up, Hayy uses his senses and reason to understand the workings of the natural world. He explores the laws of nature, devises a rational theology and entertains theories about the origin of the universe. He develops a sense of ethics: Out of mercy for animals, he turns vegetarian, and out of care for plants, he preserves their seeds.

FULL ARTICLE FROM THE NEW YORK TIMES

Seattle’s religious communities find ways to celebrate holidays and grow amid social distancing

By Megan BurbankSeattle Times features reporter

For many people of faith, the recent religious holidays — Passover, Easter, Ramadan — are traditionally a time of gathering. But under stringent social distancing measures enacted to slow the spread of COVID-19, the illness caused by the novel coronavirus, life in the Northwest has been marked by retraction and isolation.

But even as holidays are reimagined — sometimes drastically — and services go remote, leaving houses of worship empty, local faith leaders say that interest in religious services has gone up, and congregants have found new ways to receive and share practical support and relief through their spiritual communities — maintaining a sense of connection in an otherwise dark time.

Holidays disrupted

The loss of in-person worship has come at a cost: Holidays have been disrupted or transformed, and some of the most important rituals of congregants’ lives will have to be radically altered or delayed, faith leaders said.

Hyder Ali, president of the Muslim Association of Puget Sound (MAPS), based in Redmond, said it was unlikely MAPS would be able to provide full services for Ramadan, which begins April 23 this year, and is typically when the mosque brings in almost 50% of its donations — “a significant amount of our operational expenses.” He said he did not anticipate in-person services reconvening in time for Ramadan, but that MAPS would provide virtual engagements on the holiday.

He also said MAPS would be assisting the community during this time in other ways, “doubling down to do what we can to serve the community” because “churches and mosques serve as a first line of defense” for people facing fallout from the outbreak.

FULL ARTICLE FROM THE SEATTLE TIMES

‘A redemption’: Muslim leader gives prayer in Oklahoma Senate

Oklahoma Muslims celebrated a historic moment Monday when a Muslim faith leader gave the daily prayer in the state Senate.

Thought to be the first Muslim invocation in the Oklahoma Senate, Imad Enchassi’s prayer was years in the making

The senior imam of the Islamic Society of Greater Oklahoma City applied to lead the daily prayer in the Oklahoma House in 2017, but his application was denied with no explanation — spurring controversy. 

Following the denial, a House lawmaker who no longer serves in the Oklahoma Legislature changed the rules of the House chaplaincy program at the time to effectively eliminate non-Christians from participating

“Standing there, performing the prayer for the Senate, felt like a redemption,” Enchassi said. 

Imad Enchassi, senior imam of the Islamic Society of Greater Oklahoma City, walks with Sen. Carri Hicks before giving the daily prayer Monday in the Oklahoma state Senate. Enchassi is likely the first imam (Muslim faith leader) to offer a prayer on the Oklahoma Senate Floor.

The nearly five-minute prayer Enchassi recited in the Senate chamber was written four years ago, when he first anticipated leading the Oklahoma House in prayer.  

Enchassi said Monday’s prayer was intended to convey a message of community, tolerance and love — all things he has preached throughout his life.

He felt as though the senators, who bowed their heads in quiet reflection, were listening. Some senators embraced Enchassi as they entered the chamber for the afternoon legislative session. 

“I’m your brother from a different mother,” he said afterward. “We pray to the same people. We have the same God, and we’re all Oklahomans.”

FULL ARTICLE FROM THE OKLAHOMAN

NBC’s ‘Transplant’ Makes Audiences Reevaluate Muslims in Lead Roles

TRANSPLANT — “The Only Way Out Is Through” Episode 113 — Pictured: Hamza Haq as Dr. Bashir “Bash” Hamed — (Photo by: Yan Turcotte/Sphere Media/CTV/NBC)

hmad Meree didn’t feel represented onscreen, especially in North America. The Syrian actor and playwright is one of several changing the game with NBC and Sphere Media’s medical drama, “Transplant.” The series, which originally aired on Canada’s CTV, follows Syrian refugee Bashir Hamed (Hamza Haq) who comes to Canada and becomes an emergency room doctor.

“Transplant,” the recent honoree at the Muslim Public Affairs Council’s Media Awards, has been a labor of love for its cast, series showrunner Joseph Kay, and production company Sphere Media. For executive producer Tara Woodbury, the series held a personal connection for her; her brother-in-law is a refugee who’d relocated to a new country. “I shared with him [Kay] a bit of my brother-in-law’s story and, at the same time, Canada was going through the process of trying to figure out how to help 40,000 Syrian refugees in a short amount of time,” Woodbury told IndieWire.

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For both Woodbury and Meree, there was a desire to change the perceptions of how Muslims, specifically Muslim men, were portrayed. Each mentioned that the depictions they had seen before tended to emphasize Muslim men as terrorists or religious zealots. The discussion of prayer, and how Bashir looks at religion, was a particular discussion topic for Meree when he was brought onto the show as a cultural consultant.

FULL ARTICLE FROM INDIE WIRE