Islam

How Muslims Are Mourning Without Proper Death Care Rituals

June 4, 2020

 

In April, my family received news that my mother’s friend passed away from COVID-19. We were overcome with grief—especially because we were still grieving another recent death. Our last memory of her is watching the EMTs carry her to the ambulance outside of her house as we waved goodbye. We all feared the worst but were hopeful that that goodbye wave would eventually turn into a welcome back gesture. It didn’t. 

In the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, loss and grief are two themes that transcend age, race, religion, and location. The U.S. alone has...

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Amid protests, US faith leaders engage racism and politics

June 4, 2020

 

As days of anti-racism protests sparked by police killings push Americans toward a national reckoning, religious leaders are stepping more directly into the politics surrounding discrimination, entering into a dialogue that cuts across lines of faith and color.

Groups from multiple denominations across Christian, Jewish and Muslim faiths have publicly called for action against racism, aligning with peaceful demonstrators’ goals following the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis. Even beyond those statements, the amount and diversity of religious involvement...

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At protests, some clergy pray, others put their bodies and souls on the line

June 2, 2020

 

Many religious traditions call on believers to stand with the marginalized, an axiom often interpreted as a broad command to defend the rights of others.

Sometimes this means pushing for new laws or marching in streets to demand action. 

Other times it means getting pepper-sprayed in the face. 

This past weekend the Rev. Laura Young said she decided to take the edict literally, which is why she spent most of Saturday afternoon (May 30) recovering after police sprayed her in the face with noxious chemicals.

“I had it...

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Faith leaders in 50 cities observe day of 'mourning and lament' for victims of COVID-19

June 2, 2020

 

Interfaith clergy as well as civic leaders in at least 50 cities nationwide declared Monday the National Day of Mourning and Lament for the over 100,000 people who have died in the United States from coronavirus. They also took the time to grieve the deaths of the recent victims of racial injustice.

“Today, prayers of mourning and lament are taking place around the country in over 50 cities, which have organized their own events and prayer services,” said Sojourners Executive Director Adam Taylor during an hour-long ...

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From Illinois to Puerto Rico, Latino Muslims navigate faith and quarantine among their non-Muslim families

May 26, 2020

 

As someone new to Islam, Ritchie Jaimes has found quarantine restrictions particularly challenging.

Jaimes, who was raised Catholic, converted to Islam just five months ago and has experienced his first Ramadan amid a pandemic that has shut down mosques and churches and mandated stay-at-home orders that bar in-person gatherings.

He breaks fast on his own during weekends at home when he’s not working the late shift Monday through Friday. It has also been more than a month since he last saw his mentor, who was helping him learn about hadiths,...

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How mosques around America will celebrate Eid during a pandemic

May 25, 2020
With most mosques across the country still closed due to the coronavirus, Muslim communities are finding creative ways to celebrate this weekend’s Eid al-Fitr, the festival that marks the end of Ramadan, while abiding by social distancing guidelines.
 
In Michigan, where a popular Ramadan lights competition will end just before Eid, Muslims have organized a televised Eid service and celebration that they expect tens of thousands to tune in for. The celebratory programming, set to air Sunday morning (May 24) on local cable news and stream on social...
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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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