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Islamic Center Rules and Working Together

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Are we getting too caught up in the red tape?

That goes back to my point. Sometimes we make things so complicated that we don't allow the beautiful logic, the Aql, and the human nature, that Allah has blessed us with, to do its work. Let's imagine: if we were a community who were all aware of Br. Mohammad's exceptional ability in event management due to his success in his career, would it be out of this world to allow Br. Mohammad to be the "lead", and to even encourage him to take charge in helping to organize and plan programs for the community? Would it be illogical to ask Sr. Fatima to help in the finances of the center, seeing that she is has been working for a great company for 15 years, doing the treasury work? It kind of makes sense, right?

Males and Females – "Just Friends"?

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Know the reality of cross-gender friendships

Mixing with non-Mahrams and going out of our way to spend time with them obviously defies the very ideals of Hijab. It's as simple as this: brothers and sisters who are not Mahram to each other are not supposed to interact when there is no point in doing so, and any interaction that does take place is supposed to be done in a professional manner. Conclusively, the idea of non-Mahram guys and girls spending time together as "friends" is not endorsed by Islam. Also, we need to realize that being Muslim doesn't make us immune to falling into sin. Just because a sister wears a headscarf and a brother sports a beard does not mean it is okay for them to become friends.

Sunday School: Supplement, not Substitute

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Islamic upbringing should not be confined to a few hours a week at madressa.

Families need to realize that Islamic education and upbringing is a constant process – not confined to once a week. If a child who is reaching the age of obligation is not in the practice of performing all five obligatory prayers, what makes us think the day they turn Baligh they will magically start waking up for the morning prayer without any hesitation and with an ability to fight all sleeping powers? If recitation of the Qur'an is only done out of fear of not completing their Sunday School homework rather than out of respect and honor of the Holy Book, what makes us think our children will adopt the habit of reciting the recommended 50 verses of Qur'an a day? Such habits are instilled by performing them often and regularly – not just once a week.

Volunteering: Are We Doing Enough?

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Are we part of the larger picture of humanity? With the increasing amount of educated, experienced and skilled Muslims in the world, we must begin to plan, organize and execute humanitarian and volunteer efforts as much as we can. Delegating and trusting our brothers and sisters is an important factor in doing so. We see many of our centers with programs and finance committees, but what are we doing in our communities to be a part of the larger, global picture of humanity?

The Beggar and the Laborer

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Earning an honest living is one of the greatest forms of worship.

It is our duty to recognize the work and efforts of our laborers, and to understand the vital role they play in our communities – from the man who works at the auto-repair shop to the security guard who spends the entire night up so that you could sleep safely in your beds. No one is asking for handouts and charity, but what they do deserve is the respect that our religion has given to them. They deserve to stand at an equal footing with a doctor, a lawyer, an engineer, or a businessman, and to be regarded as equally integral for the well-being and advancement of our communities.

Preparing for Difficult Conversations

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How do we handle them?What types of organizations suffer the most damaging internal conflict? According to a recent study, the answer is religious organizations like church groups, synagogues, and Madressa boards. It's not that religious people seek conflict; in fact, most of them avoid conflict as much as possible. And that's part of the problem. Conflict is inevitable in religious contexts because people tend to deeply hold religious views and can see any challenge as a threat to their identity and religious ideals. But when people avoid and ignore a minor conflict, problems fester until they explode in dysfunction. Organizations that are totally free of conflict tend to be ineffective, because no problem-solving or growing is taking place. But if an organization is overwhelmed with conflict, people become so concerned with protecting themselves, winning, or saving face that they lose the ability to have concern for the organization or for relationships.

Miscarriages and Stillbirths: The Loss of a Baby in Muslim Communities

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Let us help, not hinder, their situation

The best way to show your concern would be to let them know you heard of their loss and are sorry. Say that you will remember them in your prayers or take out Sadaqa in their name, and offer your help should they ever need anything. Of course if you, or someone close to you, have gone through a similar experience, then you can express your understanding of their situation and perhaps provide some helpful information. If they choose to talk about the details, let them do so at their own ease – do not try to force it all out of them by shooting rounds of intimate questions at them.

I Spy Akhlaq

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What happened to basic Islamic manners among our kids?We can observe in our centers and mosques these days that the young ones from approximately ages 6 to the teen years have this new found attitude of "I rule". And there we have it, some good Akhlaq, or manners and etiquette is hard to find, like a good game of I spy.

Our Islamic New Year's Resolutions

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What's your resolution?Around the New Year, people start making their new year's resolutions to lose weight, study harder and stop procrastinating, amongst numerous others. Though all these are good means to improve our lives, we Muslims should have set priorities in which our faith is the first to improve. If we call ourselves Muslims, we must then God-willing act upon this statement to the fullest.  Many of us may not realize how much we might lack when it comes to our religious beliefs, so let us consider making resolutions to improve our religious practices.  Below are some useful tips we may consider:

Our Fashionable Hijabis

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Fashionable Hijabi?Honestly speaking, if a "bit" of fashion entails branded clothing and accessories which are not attractive enough to catch a second glimpse by most people, there doesn't seem to be any major issues. If our fashion means wearing elegant but not stunning shoes, having the latest mobile phone but not showing off with it, and looking neat but not attractive to most people, that also seems fine. But when "a little" fashion means "light" makeup which makes us look relatively more attractive with than without it, alongside a Gucci bag with so much glitter and shine people on the other side of the street notice it, huge necklaces around our Hijabs, fancy bangles and bracelets which any non-mahram who looks at our wrists can see, and extremely well-fitted abayas, skirts, and pants, we have a major problem.

Six North Americans to Walk from Najaf to Karbala

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Walk for the orphans of IraqWhen we think about Iraq today, especially here in North America, it's hard not to be at least somewhat optimistic. Since the height of the violence against civilians in Iraq in 2006, when almost 28000 civilians were killed in violent attacks, the number of casualties has shrunk dramatically each year: 25000 in 2007, less than 5000 in 2009, and less than 4000 in 2010. That is, without question, a remarkable improvement.