Sermons in the holy cities of Makkah and Madinah have always been conducted exclusively in Arabic. According to the Arab News, this is soon to change. Sermons will be translated into English for the millions of Muslims who do not speak Arabic.
As a non-native Arabic speaker, I welcome this move so that all Muslims may understand the message of the sermons. Some worry that this marks a phase-out of the Arabic language as a whole, but I don't consider that prediction to be credible. Arabic retains its importance as the language of the Quran, and all Muslims strive to master at least the basics in order to read the Quran as it was revealed. Translations of the meaning of the Quran have not minimized the importance of Arabic. Sermons, while quoting from the Quran, also serve the purpose of reminding and educating the community about religious and practical matters. Therefore, it is a benefit to provide a translation so that the message may be more widely understood.
Summer is fast approaching! Active Muslim women have nothing to fear in their search for healthy, outdoor pursuits. Even for swimming, many women turn to the growing number of companies that offer modest but safe swimwear. Some of the fashions seem a bit strange-looking at first, but the variety and style of the available designs is rapidly expanding.
In California, one such swimwear company was founded by a marine biologist who wanted to continue scuba diving after she began observing hijab. Another is based in Australia, and sells not only to Muslims but to people of other faiths and lifestyles who want more coverage in a swimsuit. The Australian company offers a style called the "burkini," which is used by female Muslim lifeguards in that country. (Photo by Matt King/Getty Images)
The goal of the "Islamic swimwear" industry is to help and encourage more Muslim women to become physically active. Many women refrain from swimming or other water activities because of the lack of clothing alternatives. Swimming in street clothing is unsafe and unsanitary, and in most places not allowed for these reasons. Unless the pool is private for women only, Muslim women who observe hijab will not wear any type of swimsuit that does not cover the body fully. These "Islamic" swimsuit companies open up a door for such women to participate. Full-coverage swimsuits offer a compromise which is acceptable to many. If it means that more women become physically active in outdoor water sports, it can only be for the best!
Interested in other modest summer-wear alternatives? Check the spring and summer collections at these online clothing stores.
With Ramadan falling during July and August this year, many major Islamic conferences are being planned for earlier or later in the summer. Among them:
- 17-19 May 2013: ISNA Canada Annual Convention - Theme: Directing Your Inner Balance, Walking the Tightrope - Toronto, Canada
- 25-27 May 2013: ICNA-MAS Convention - Theme: Islam: the Pursuit of Happiness - Hartford, CT
- 1-2 June 2013: Halal Foodfest - Toronto, Canada
- 15 June 2013: ISNA South Central Zone Conference - Theme: Developing Our Communities, Strengthening Our Faith - Dallas, TX
- 22-23 August 2013: International Conference on Islam and Democracy - Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
- 30-31 August 2013: Conference of Islamic Economics & Islamic Finance - Toronto, Canada
- 30 August - 2 September 2013: ISNA Convention (5oth Annual) - Theme: Envisioning a More Perfect Union, Building the Beloved Community - Washington, DC
Do you know of others? Please post a comment below with details.
Reading through Surah Al-An'am this week, I came across an ayat that popped out at me:
Revile not those whom they call upon besides Allah, lest they, out of spite, revile Allah in their ignorance. Thus have We made alluring to each people their own doings. In the end, they will all return to their Lord, and He shall tell them the truth of all that they did. (Surah Al-An'am 6:108)
Throughout this section (juz') of the Quran, believers are asked to bear the rejection of unbelievers with patience and not take it personally (6:33-34). In the verse above, we are commanded NOT to use abusive speech towards others about their faith, no matter how vehemently we disagree, as it may be turned right around and be directed back at us. Yet so many of us ignore this simple and logical bit of advice. Discussions with non-believers sometimes quickly turn into insult-throwing arguments (or worse).
Allah is clear in the Quran that Muslims should not to sit with those who ridicule and question faith, but just to turn away and give advice. In the end, each person is responsible for his or her own conduct, and they will face Allah for judgment. It is not for us to "watch over their doings," nor are we "set over them to dispose of their affairs" (6:107). Rather, believers should turn away, leave them be, and trust that Allah will ensure fair judgment for all.
Islam teaches that Muslims have a responsibility to protect the environment, as stewards of the Earth that God created. Several Muslim organizations throughout the world are taking that responsibility to an active level, dedicating themselves to environmental protection.
More: "Green Deen" Book Review
The largest U.S. Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization issued a statement condemning the attacks at the Boston Marathon and urging Muslims to respond both with prayers for the victims and "concrete" measures of support such as blood donations. Nihad Awad, the Executive Director of CAIR, stated:
American Muslims, like Americans of all backgrounds, condemn in the strongest possible terms today's cowardly bomb attack on participants and spectators of the Boston Marathon.
We urge people of all faiths to pray for the victims and their loved ones and for the speedy recovery of those injured. We also call for the swift apprehension and punishment of the perpetrators.
While spiritual measures can serve to comfort those in physical and emotional pain, we also call on Muslims and others in the Boston area to donate blood through the Red Cross as a concrete show of support for the bomb attack victims. Those who were participating in the marathon or were watching the event should contact authorities with any potential eyewitness information they may have.
Yesterday I came across two boys out walking a dog. This may seem like a natural, everyday occurrence to most people, but in Saudi Arabia it is quite an unusual sight. Muslims are known for being intolerant or even hostile towards dogs. Is this based on religious teachings? Or is it based on lack of experience and familiarity with these loyal and hard-working animals? What does Islam say about dogs?
Muslims believe in One Almighty Creator, Who is Omnipotent, Compassionate, and Merciful. In His mercy, He sends guidance to mankind on how to properly worship Him and live our lives. Muslims believe that Jesus Christ was a righteous prophet whom God sent to teach His message and guidance.
Thousands of students are now receiving their university admission offers, and making decisions about their future. Attending university is a huge step, whether one is moving across the world, to a new state, or simply within your hometown. You will face new experiences, make new friends, and open yourself up to a whole world of knowledge. It can be a very exciting time in your life, but also a bit intimidating and scary at first. As a Muslim, it is important to find a way to navigate and explore these new horizons, while maintaining your Islamic lifestyle and identity... Read More
How should Muslims treat animals? Unfortunately, some Muslims push animal welfare to the bottom of priorities, with the argument that Muslims should worry about relationships among fellow human beings first and foremost. However, the life of the Prophet Muhammad was filled with concern about animal welfare, and modern psychological research proves that a person who abuses animals is more likely to abuse human beings. (See "Animal Abuse and Youth Violence," published by the U.S. Department of Justice, for a sample of such research.)
The care of animals is so important in Islam, that it can be a deciding factor in our destiny in the Hereafter. Read more about how Muslims should treat animals.
Photo: Stray dogs near a trash pile in Cairo, Egypt - February 2011 (Chris Hondros/Getty Images)