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Saturday, September 23, 2017

Have Muslim Homeschooling Families Become Lazy?

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Can Black American Muslims Be More Than A Hashtag?

See, the way this social media thing works is that a new event means a new hashtag will drop! Ramadhan, Eid, weddings, divorces (some times), a summer conference, an all-white or all-black Muslim fashion show, or an Imam who tripped/slipped/exposed his true (racist) feelings during a lecture, buzz words like Salafi/Sufi infighting, and of course Black Muslims dressing up and out will always create some catchy #hashtags. We follow those hashtags and beam with pride: Black Muslims showing out! We reppin' for the internet streets to see! We want the world to know that we are proud, we have numbers, and we are tired of being everybody's after thought. #WeBeenHere they said! Stop speaking for us we done told ya'll. Let us in and give us a seat at the table we have demanded from Muslim organizations. Follow the hashtag - it's the clapback! It also makes us feel good and represented. But then eventually the hashtag fades away. Another Friday rolls around in your real 'hood Muslim community and it's all the same. You're sitting there on the musallah and a few will offer you a weak, fake salam! Don't they know WE out here trending? Don't they know our hashtags moves the crowd! Nah, they don't!

Out comes your smartphone so that you scroll through your Black Muslim #hashtag glory.....

Why are things still same we ponder? Black American Muslim Millennials know so much! We have accomplished so many things! We own the hashtags, but not the masajid! We own the degrees and certifications, but not the schools or universities! We been had passports and done took the trips to Dubai and Hajj (twice or more), but we don't own any homeless shelters, recidivist programs, gardens, Muslim organizations or parenting programs.....but the hashtags - now, we got those things on lock! We will text and type until Fajr creeps up on us about the injustices we face, the narratives of our lives and why they matter, and our golden, celebrity filled history. And those things do matter. And speaking up is necessary. But when do we prioritize our issues and put in the work to start fixing us? When do we Black American Muslims that are educated secularly and/or Islamically, skilled in trades and arts, internet savvy, internet activists, business owners, homemakers, and elders come together, make a plan, cooperate and start getting things done? When are we going to stop craving for the everybody to see us and love us? When are we going to come together and work together? When are we going to put in the #work?

Black American Muslim Twitters, Facebookers, Instagramers and Snapchaters have become kings and queens of hashtag marketing. It's impressive when it goes down. We beam with pride, but let's be very clear, pride don't pay the rent or change our daily realities. Our parents and elders carved their own lanes in our hoods: they built communities with masajid, schools, and businesses -- working together. They helped stamp out crime. They collaborated and shared responsibilities. They put on programs, started the dawah outreach programs in the prisons - all while selling oils and incense,. They helped spread Islam and raised the second, third, fourth, and fifth generations of Muslims. They lived Islam in America and they were happy to do what they did.

We moved up though! Yes, we have a house outside the hood, Muslim children growing up isolated, subscription to Muslim groups on social, the Lexus 300 GS and a new shayla from Saudi that matches a Coach bag that you paid outright for - but it's not enough! Some of us mean muggin' every time jumu'ah rolls around! The khutbah at the immigrant run masjid doesn't make sense to you, the same three classes been offered for the last 20 years, folks coming in and out of the community so you can't build anything meaningful and you really don't even want to waste your time trying. Times have changed. #Hashtag Bring back the old days.

We are a depressed, dissatisfied, and marginalized group of Muslims partly because our generation of Black American Muslims continue to fail to work together! We have no loyalty, we're not too cool with eachother (you know we will throw our own off it at the flick of button) we are certainly fresh out of patience, we're petty, too tired, we are on band wagons, and too bougie! We love to hashtag our talents and beauty because ultimately, that's all we got energy for! We are tired of being tired, but won't work together because that requires that we deal with our own issues by ourselves! We rather not work together because we don't want to change too much - we rather others to change for us! Cooperation also requires some level of sacrifice and sacrifice takes more effort than hashtagging and internet conferencing!

We are talented. We are important. We are excellence. We are hard workers. We are also more than a hashtag. But we are stuck. We are broken. We need us.

And hold fast all together by the rope which Allah (stretches out for you) and be not divided among yourselves; and remember with gratitude Allah’s favor on you; for ye were enemies and He joined your hearts in love so that by His grace ye became brethren; and ye were on the brink of the pit of fire and He saved you from it. Thus doth Allah make his signs clear to you: that ye may be guided. Al-Imran 3:103

Saturday, May 27, 2017

#MuslimGirlsRead Books Fundraiser 2017

Can you help #MuslimGirlsRead raise $500 to give out Muslim fiction books to Muslim youth and Muslim schools in inner-cities across the U.S. ? Low literacy rates, low self-esteem and poverty are all connected. We can help improve literacy in our communities and help boost Muslim youth morale by providing them with literature that they can connect to and inspire them to make the most of their lives as Muslims. Enshallah, I am putting up the first $100. Join #MuslimGirlsRead by donating, sharing the flyer, and nominating Muslim youth and Muslims across the US to receive books for them - by them!

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

She Writes & Rhymes 4 Ramadhan

This Ramadhan Umm Juwayriyah will be hosting a special online workshop! If you would like to join me, please Paypal your payment to

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

In The Midnight Hour: Parenting Special Needs Children

So much of what is involved with parenting is a mystery. You can by help books and sit at the laps of all the elders in your family soaking up all the mother wit you can stand. Yet there are seasons when - by the decree of Allah - you will still find yourself in places: valleys so low and on mountain tops so high that you as mother or you as father will have no clue what to do. In those moments: when you hear the doctor, therapist, or specialist tell you that your baby/child is sick, covered underneath a life long disorder that will impact his or her quality of  life, it will feel like the world has stopped for you and you have lost your way.

My dear sister - my dear brother, if no one has told you yet, let me tell you something I'd wish someone had permitted me to do when my daughter was first diagnosed with Infantile Spasms and Autism nine years ago: go on and  cry it out! Don't try to hold in your hurt, your confusion, your sadness, or your disappointment. Cry, weep, wail, and drop down on your knees and call on Allah! Cry a whole day or whole week, if you need to and don't let anyone stop you either. Don't let anyone disrupt your tears. You earned those tears and you earned the right to mourn. What are you mourning? Someone will boldly question you, no doubt. They will tell you your baby/child is still alive. They will try to force you to be grateful indignantly. What they might not understand is that your tears are mixed with gratefulness but you are facing a change in not only your life but in the whole life of your baby's. Certainly, enshallah, there will be better days and some relief, but whatever you wanted/prayed for/thought your child's life would be like before he/she was diagnosed with a special/different/challenging need, will not be actualized in this life. You will have to let that dream go. And it will not be easily buried. It will resurface many times through your life. So cry and mourn.  Turn back to Allah to find other goals with smaller steps to reach. You will have to accept the truth that your child may not ever coherently talk, walk, run, pray, read, write, or feed themselves independently. You will have to plan for the reality that you will have to take care of that baby/child for your entire life and when you die, if they outlive you, you will have to have someone in place to continue to care for them. So if they won't let you cry in peace, politely show them the door. And then cry, please! And when you are able......

Stand up in the midnight hour and continue to cry out to and for Allah's help. Do this regularly. Plan for it weekly or monthly or even daily! For sure Allah understands your hurt and your worries and He, alone, can grant you relief. And you will desperately need this alone time because there will always be some new challenge, struggle, or an all out fight to push through. The tears will continue to be necessary to shed. Happy tears when Allah grants respite and opens closed doors for you  and sad tears will also trail you too. Remember though, He, the Most High, has promised after difficulty, relief will come.

 Parenting special needs' children requires a superpower that doesn't come with a cape or some cool mask. If parenting special needs children and adults teaches you nothing else, you will learn very quickly that Allah holds all the power and might and you have none. You are weak, emotional, and prone to make so many mistakes with your child and yourself. But with Allah, your Lord, your Friend -  Ar Rahman - He has the ability to help you find some superpower strength-dedication to sort out medications, schedule and get to a bijillion doctor appointments, potty training, learn sign language, unearth research and alternative treatments, stay up all night taking care of your restless child, and work a full shift during the day. So my dear sister - my dear brother, take care of you! 

Nothing is easy, except what Allah wills to be easy. Crying isn't easy for some of us. It's hard to be vulnerable for many of us too. There are no short cuts or secrets to parenting any children and certainly not children with special needs. But with Allah, He can bring you ease and protection. So stand up in the midnight hour and seek His help and relief and guidance.

The Messenger of Allah sallallahu alyhi wa sallam said: "The closest one can be to Allah, is during the last third of the night. If one can remember Allah, the Almighty, at this time, let him do so." (At-Tirmidhi, An Nisaa'i, and Al Haakim)

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Tried & Tested Book Discussion Questions

For those of you have already read Tried & Tested or you just got your book, here are some discussion questions for you to think about as you are reading. You can also use these discussion questions at your own book club meetings: