Islam

Muslim generosity in Ramadan is more than a feel-good story

May 25, 2020
Most Americans who know about Ramadan at all know it as the holy month in which Muslims abstain from eating. What many of us don’t realize is that Muslims also consider this to be the month of giving.
 
Oral traditions trace the practice of giving during Ramadan back to the Prophet Muhammad, who, according to hadith, was already “the most generous of all people” and, during the month of Ramadan, “used to be more generous than the fast wind.”
 
This year, Ramadan was met by the coronavirus pandemic. Mosques were...
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Drive-Thrus And Drive-Ins: Muslim Americans Celebrate Eid Amid The Coronavirus Pandemic

May 25, 2020
Every year, Zarinah El-Amin’s mother, Cheryl, and fellow Muslim women in Detroit pooled their money to purchase toys for children on Eid, the annual festival that marks the end of Ramadan. They wanted to make sure every Muslim child who came to the mosque for Eid prayers could walk out with a toy ― a special way to mark the holiday and give back to the community.
 
So after her mother died last year, she took over the toy drive. But then the coronavirus pandemic halted gatherings and closing mosques in its wake ― and it forced her and the community to...
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Four young people of different faiths move into a home together, then a pandemic happens

May 20, 2020
Hadar Cohen, Ala’ Khan, Maya Mansour and Jonathan Simcosky arrived as strangers, ready to embark on a new interfaith journey.
 
The four roommates moved into a five-bedroom, five-bath house in Los Angeles’ Koreatown neighborhood earlier this year. They come from different faiths: Baha’i, Christianity, Islam and Judaism. Cohen came from Jerusalem but had already lived in the Bay Area for a few years. Simcosky made the trek from Salem, Massachusetts, to L.A. Khan and Mansour were already in Southern California.
 
They...
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Women leaders condemn threat against Muslim candidate

May 8, 2020

 

Dozens of women activists, leaders and lawmakers have joined a petition denouncing a death threat against congressional candidate Amani Al-Khatahtbeh, the first Muslim woman to run for federal office from New Jersey.

The 27-year-old is the founder of MuslimGirl.com, an online magazine with a global audience. After hosting a virtual town hall on Instagram, she said someone called her phone, and using racial slurs against Muslims, threatened to kill her and her family.

“It’s unnerving for anybody to hear somebody threaten their family, let alone have...

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Iftar in Isolation

May 4, 2020

Last Friday, as the first day of Ramadan drew to a close, Rami Ismail prepared his iftar, the meal to end the day’s fast, at his apartment in Hilversum, the Netherlands: laban bil balah, an Egyptian-style fast-breaking drink of chilled milk with dates and cashews; Dutch uienkruier flatbread with cheese and onions; salmon over a bed of quinoa and spinach. The portion size suggested it was a dinner for one, but Ismail was about to host an iftar party. As he sat down to eat, he turned on his Nintendo Switch and set a virtual table in Animal Crossing: New Horizons. ...

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“A Ramadan of isolation”: UMD Muslim students reflect on holy month during a pandemic

May 1, 2020

 

Last Ramadan, Amara Kamal woke up every morning in Cumberland Hall about an hour before sunrise. She ate and prayed before spending the rest of the day studying and going to classes. While the sun was in the sky, she didn’t eat or drink. When her friends went to the dining hall, she stayed behind and finished her homework.

But when the sun set, Kamal, an interfaith and spiritual diversity intern for Multicultural Involvement Community Advocacy, helped prepare its iftar feast in the Stamp Atrium, where Muslim students would pray and eat as a community.

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During Ramadan in isolation, Muslims get creative to preserve community

April 24, 2020

 

The holy month of Ramadan, observed by fasting from dawn to dusk, has many themes: sacrifice, discipline, devotion, empathy, gratitude, generosity.

But for many Muslim communities, what defines Ramadan, which begins this week, are the moments of community: sharing platters of dates to break their fasts, the call to prayer reverberating through the halls of packed mosques, filling empty stomachs with mouthwatering nightly meals known as iftars — plates piled high with the black Muslim staple bean pie, South Asian samosas and maqluba in Arab traditions — the...

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Spiritual counselors adapt to serve faithful in pandemic

April 24, 2020

 

Esther Roman wasn’t even in the room when she witnessed what she describes as “probably the holiest thing I’ve ever seen.”

A doctor whose patient was suffering from COVID-19 had used an iPad to connect with Roman, a 38-year-old staff chaplain at Manhattan’s Mount Sinai Morningside hospital, and members of the patient’s family. As the patient’s family told him that if they could, they would be in the room to comfort him, Roman saw – in the digital frame – the doctor reach out and stroke his hair.

“I don’t think that image will ever leave me,” Roman...

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Muslim call to prayer to be broadcast in Minneapolis neighborhood

April 22, 2020

 

The Muslim call to prayer will be broadcast the traditional five times a day in the Cedar-Riverside neighborhood of Minneapolis, beginning with the start of Ramadan this week and continuing through the end of the religious holiday in May.

It will be the first time the call to prayer, commonly broadcast from mosques in Muslim nations, will be heard in Minnesota.

Designed to encourage Muslims to maintain safe distancing during a holiday typically marked by community prayer, the arrangement was approved Tuesday by Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey, working...

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Oral history project preserves stories of black Muslim seniors amid pandemic

April 20, 2020

 

As the coronavirus outbreak takes a disproportionately deadly toll on seniors and African Americans, a new oral history initiative aims to train black Muslim youth to document their elderly community members’ stories.

The Wisdom of the Elders Project is a “long-overdue” effort to capture black Muslim seniors’ “past, present and uncertain future” before it is too late, coordinator Asha Noor said.

“Our mission is to disrupt the narratives which say our...

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As Ramadan nears, prisons urged to accommodate faith needs during pandemic

April 17, 2020

A coalition of 20 faith groups is pressing prison officials across the country to accommodate all prisoners’ religious needs during the outbreak of the novel coronavirus, particularly with Ramadan around the corner.

“Prisons remain under an obligation to accommodate religious practice to the maximum extent possible, even as they act to mitigate the health crisis,” reads the letter, sent to...

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Top Muslim leaders launch grant initiative to protect imams from layoffs

April 15, 2020

 

With mosques’ biggest fundraisers of the year in jeopardy, a new crowdfunding initiative led by four prominent Muslim American leaders aims to protect the livelihoods of imams and other mosque staff around the country.

The initiative has raised about $155,000 as an emergency stopgap measure to maintain mosque staff’s income. The funds will be distributed to mosques and Islamic centers that...

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An Imam Leads His Congregation Through the Pandemic

April 8, 2020

On Thursday, March 19th, Idris Abdul-Zahir, an imam in West Oak Lane, Philadelphia, wrestled with whether his mosque, Masjidullah, should open the following afternoon for the Friday prayer service, in the face of the coronavirus pandemic. The mosque, one of about seventy in the Philadelphia area, has almost a thousand members. It also hosts a day-care center for nearly two hundred children, called the Masjidullah Early Child Care Academy, or mecca; an online Islamic school for forty students, called the New Medina...

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With Passover, Easter and Ramadan looming, clergy scramble to create holidays at a distance

April 6, 2020

 

The Rev. Richard Mosson Weinberg canceled the Boston ferns and the yellow daffodils for the Easter service ordered for his Episcopal church in Washington’s affluent Kalorama neighborhood. Rabbi Levi Shemtov scrapped plans for the 200-person Seder dinner for Passover in his Chabad synagogue nearby. And Imam Yahya Luqman called off the Ramadan dinners at his mosque down the street.

These three faith leaders, who normally lead worship within walking distance from each other in Northwest Washington, are all scrambling to find...

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