September 7, 2019

  I was planning to write another article on Ashura and the great Karbala tragedy in a few days. But I could not wait any longer after hearing the appalling account of the significance of Ashura during the Friday sermon today at a local Sunni Muslim mosque that I frequently attend. As an interfaith and Intra-faith worker, this is of great concern to me. It makes our work that much more meaningful and reminds us our work is much needed…. Read more

September 2, 2019

Labor Day was created by the labor movement in the late 1800s who fought against dismal working conditions. It is a national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the economic strength and prosperity of our country. The Islamic commandment to treat labor force fairly dates back to the early 600s CE. The first Labor Day holiday was celebrated actually on a Tuesday on September 5, 1882 in New York City in accordance with the plans of the Central… Read more

September 1, 2019

With the moon sighting for Muharram, the first month of the Islamic calendar and the start of the Islamic year, once again I see “Happy New Year” greetings all over the social media and many parties and “fun events” taking place. But is the Islamic New Year a cause for celebration or a solemn reminder of an immense tragedy that befell the noble family of Prophet Muhammad? The Friday sermons and other religious programs do go over the sacred nature… Read more

August 26, 2019

Chapter 5 of the Qur’an is named Al-Ma’idah, or ‘The Table Spread’ that descended from Heaven, containing heavenly food, as mentioned in verses 112-115 at the request of the disciples of Jesus. Is the heavenly food a reference to the last supper (and by reference, to the Christian Eucharist) or the Gospel’s account of the multiplication of loaves of bread and fish as told in Matthew 14, and Mark 6? ‘The Table Spread’ (Surah Al-Ma’idah) is considered to be the… Read more

August 15, 2019

Israel’s unprecedented banning of the entry of two Democratic US congresswomen Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar is a slap in the face of America in general, and the US congress in particular. This is even more remarkable as it followed the unprecedented move by a sitting American president when Donald Trump urged Israel to do so. As recently as last month, Israeli Ambassador Ron Dermer said Tlaib and Omar would be allowed to visit Israel “out of respect for the… Read more

August 15, 2019

As India celebrates its freedom from the British rule in 1947, Modi’s extreme right wing Hindu nationalist party fulfilled a campaign promise by annexing Kashmir and essentially depriving the Kashmiris from its right to freedom, by revoking article 370 of Indian constitution. Article 370 and Article 35A of the Indian Constitution had promised Kashmir its own constitution and decision-making powers outside the areas of foreign affairs, communications and defense. They also barred Indians from outside the state from buying land… Read more

August 11, 2019

Eid (Al Adha) Mubarak. As Muslims around the world celebrate Eid Al Adha, let’s pause for a minute and ponder the lessons we can draw from the Hajj rituals. On my own Hajj experience two years ago, my observations were not much different than those of Malcolm X, as noted here. Two years ago, throughout my Hajj pilgrimage, we had meetings led by our Imam practically every day to go over the religious lessons, the rituals and what’s to come… Read more

August 9, 2019

 Muslim pilgrims from around the world are currently gathered in a desert plain called Arafat near Mecca. It brings back memories when two years ago, we spent a day there as an essential part of Hajj pilgrimage. This is the beginning of the 5-day Hajj period that starts in Arafat, (for many it starts in Mina), leading to Muzdalifah where we would spend the night under the sky, before heading to the tent city of Mina, and will culminate in… Read more

August 8, 2019

As Pilgrims flock for the Friday prayer at Ka’aba today, before they move on to perform the rites of the Hajj at Mina and the plains of Arafat, it reminds me of my own transformative journey to perform Hajj two years ago and the unforgettable experience of offering Friday prayers at Ka’aba. Congregational Friday prayer at Ka’aba is considered a pinnacle for the pilgrims and a dream for all Muslims. I left my hotel room around 9 AM for the… Read more

August 7, 2019

Gilroy, El Paso and Dayton have rightly triggered the conversation around gun violence and gun safety, like the one we had at a local Unitarian church sponsored in part by interfaith council. To be clear, there are two separate issues we are dealing with: Hate and threat of violence from rising white supremacy, and gun safety/gun violence. Both issues need to be addressed by more than just “sending our thoughts”. These issues require us to act- now. This post is a… Read more

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