Makkah; Mecca

Makkah (also spelled Mecca) is the birthplace of the Prophet Muhammad, the hub of the caravan trade in the Arabian Peninsula, and the site of the holy Ka’bah. After receiving the first revelations of the Qur’an on a mountain outside Makkah, Muhammad developed a small following, but he had to flee to Madinah to escape persecution. In 630, Muhammad and his strengthened community returned to Makkah, establishing it as the spiritual center of the Islamic world and performing the first Islamic pilgrimage.


(also: shi'a, shi'i, shi'ite) The Shi’at ‘Ali (the party of ‘Ali, for which Shi’ah is an abbreviation and from which the adjective Shi’i comes) believed that the Prophet Muhammad designated his son-in-law ‘Ali and his descendants to be leader (imam) of the ummah after his death. The imam is regarded as an infallible interpreter of the revelation as well as the political leader. The various groups of Shi’i Muslims comprise about 15 percent of Muslims today.


Friday is called Yawm al-Jum’ah in Arabic, meaning the Day of Assembly. On this day, Muslims pause from their work at mid-day to gather for congregational worship. The regular mid-day prayer on Friday is supplemented by a two-part sermon known as the khutbah, in the middle of which a time of personal prayer, or du’a, is encouraged. Read more about Jum’ah

Savior’s Day

Savior’s Day is the most important annual gathering and celebration of the Nation of Islam.


Dhikr means “remembering” and refers to the Sufi form of devotional worship which usually involves rhythmic chanting of the names of God or litanies, sometimes accompanied by poetry, dance, drums or a reed flute.


The “night journey” (isra’) and “ascent” (mi’raj) of the Prophet Muhammad refer to the Islamic tradition that the angel Gabriel escorted Muhammad from the Ka’bah of Makkah to the sanctuary of Jerusalem, where Muhammad led previous prophets in prayer and then ascended through the seven heavens. In the uppermost heaven, Muhammad was blessed with a vision of God. These events are remembered in the Dome of the Rock and al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem as well as in Persian miniature paintings.


Al-Quds means “the Holy” and is the Arabic name of the city of Jerusalem, the third holiest place on earth for Muslims, because of its association with Muhammad’s Night Journey. Jerusalem was the original direction of prayer for Muslims, before a later revelation changed the qiblah to Makkah.


Classical Arabic is the language of revelation in Islam as recorded in the Qur’an. Muslims consider every word of the Qur’an to be a direct utterance of God. The Arabic language itself is regarded as perfectly suited as the instrument for God’s communication to humanity because of its purity of sound and clarity of meaning. Thus translations of the Qur’an in other languages are regarded as “interpretations,” not the actual Qur’an.


Islam in Arabic literally means “submitting” or “submission.” One who submits or surrenders his or her will to God is called a Muslim. While the whole of God’s creation is described as being inherently Muslim, human beings must choose whether to follow or to reject God’s will, as revealed in the Qur’an. What we now call the Islamic tradition was born in the Arabian Peninsula in the 7th century. Today, there are more than one billion Muslims, living all over the world.

Muslim Youth of North America

The Muslim Youth of North America (MYNA) was started by Muslim high school students in 1985. It seeks to develop Muslim youth identity and to train future Muslim leaders. An affiliate of the Islamic Society of North America, MYNA holds national and regional conferences, seminars, retreats and outreach sessions for Muslim youth, and publishes the New Dawn magazine.

Al-Amin, Jamil Abdullah

Imam Jamil Abdullah Al-Amin was born Hubert G. Brown in Baton Rouge, Louisiana in 1943. In the mid-1960s, under the name H. Rap Brown, he became a civil rights activist. While in prison, he studied the tenets of Islam, changed his name and embraced the new religion in 1971. Today, Imam Al-Amin leads an estimated thirty affiliated communities in the United States and the Caribbean. An officer in several organizations and popular speaker in local and national gatherings, he has published Revolution By the Book: The Rap is Live and Women in Islam.

Trump admin could pull funding for Duke-UNC program over alleged pro-Islam bias

September 26, 2019
The Trump administration has threatened to withdraw federal funding to a joint Duke University-University of North Carolina Middle East studies program over concerns it has misused federal funding and displayed a pro-Islam bias. The Department of Education sent a letter late last month warning the Duke-UNC Consortium for Middle East studies that it appears to be failing to meet requirements for a... Read more about Trump admin could pull funding for Duke-UNC program over alleged pro-Islam bias

Virginia woman sues, says prayer break request cost her job

September 26, 2019
A northern Virginia woman is suing a company that she says refused to hire her after she requested two five-minute breaks to pray during her work shift. Shahin Indorewala, 26, of Woodbridge says her job interview with Falls Church-based Fast Trak Management was going well until she asked if she could take the prayer breaks in exchange for a shorter lunch break to accommodate her practices as an observant Muslim. Source: Virginia woman sues, says prayer break request cost her job -... Read more about Virginia woman sues, says prayer break request cost her job