Sound Vision Event for Shariah Education

December 15, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

By Adil James, TMO

A fundraiser was held Saturday evening at the Dearborn Hyatt to counter the “anti-Shariah” legislation that is sweeping the nation.

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Abdul Malik Mujahid speaks at his fundraiser

The voices from the extreme right that vilify Muslims and Islam have made an important strategy shift in recent years, aiming to promulgate their hatred into the law of the land.  That difference has come in the form of plainly unconstitutional legislation that despite its illegality in relation to the religious protections of our nation has been passed as “anti-Sharia” legislation in 5 states to date, with ongoing battles to enact such legislation in other states.

Sound Vision pioneer Abdul Malik Mujahid is therefore planning an intelligent response to the shrill anti-Shariah efforts.  He has begun to assemble a team of knowledgeable people from relevant walks of life including lawyers and professors, and a website (called Sharia101.org) and more, all designed to fill the void on the internet of people knowledgeable about Islam who can respond to the “anti-Shariah” distortions of Christian bigots.

Mr. Mujahid has successfully built Sound Vision, and is prominent for his other contributions as well, in fact he was given the honor of being listed in the “Muslim 500” book of most influential Muslims.

Saturday, approximately 100 influential Southeast Michigan Muslims attended Mr. Mujahid’s fundraiser, one stop on Mr. Mujahid’s tour of several fundraisers, to raise money in support of his vision of educating people on what Shariah is.

Mujahid spoke eloquently on the importance of Shariah legislation, the danger it poses to Muslim investing, the danger to Muslim family arbitration, the danger to the existing multibillion dollar halal investment funds, the danger to the halal industry.

Mujahid also pointed out the profound implications of anti-Shariah legislation for similarly distinct religious groups which apply their religious laws within the American legal system, for example Jews, Catholics, the Amish, and Mormons. 

Mujahid gave one of the first good explanations of the nature of Shariah as being our way of life–something that is not at all fairly represented by sometimes hideous abuses done in foreign countries under the banner “Shariah.”

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To Will or Not To Will…

July 7, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

By Adil Daudi, Esq.

A few weeks ago I was approached by a client who stepped in to discuss his estate plan. He began the meeting by telling me he wanted to create a Shariah compliant Will that will ensure his assets are distributed pursuant to the terms given to us by Allah s.w.t. Before proceeding with his demands, I asked him if he was fully aware of the benefits of creating a Will and whether he knew he had other options.

This scenario is all-too-common. Under the right circumstances, there is nothing wrong with drafting a Will as part of your Estate Plan, however, prior to taking any steps, it is important to be informed on what you are drafting and why.

A Last Will and Testament is very commonly used, but many are not sure what it exactly entails. Although it is very easy to draft a will, be sure to consult with an Attorney on the benefits and drawbacks of actually having one.

Prior to any plan it is always important to know why you should even have one. For any Muslim, having an estate plan is not discretionary, but rather mandatory. Narrated by Ibn Umar, Prophet Muhammad (s) once said: “It is not right for any Muslim person who has something to bequeath to stay for two nights without having his last will and testament written and kept ready with him.”

The following are certain factors, or facts, that should be considered when drafting a will.

1. Every Will must go through Probate: Probate is a court system that determines the validity of your will and helps facilitate in the process of distributing your assets. Note:  assets cannot be distributed until this process has completed. On average, the entire probate process can take between four-to-six months. 

2. Costs: Here is a very common misconception concerning a Will. “I got a Will because it is cheaper than a Trust.” Do not fall into the trap of thinking a Will is the best estate planning tool just because it is the cheapest. I have heard many clients proudly claim they created their Will for free online. But what they don’t realize are the costs that are associated with the Will after they die. Probate costs are not cheap. On average the entire probate process can cost between 3-5% of your estate.

It is important to realize that when discussing your estate planning options, it should not be dependent on how much you pay today, but rather how much your estate will pay at the end.

3. Public Information: Depending on how much value you place on privacy, the administration of a Will provides you with none. Once your Will is filed with the court, it becomes accessible to the general public.

These are some of the issues that you should consider when contemplating your estate plan. Fortunately, there are other options available for you to consider that can be cheaper and more effective. That is why it is important to speak with an Attorney to discuss your options and more importantly to discuss the options on how best to effectuate the distribution requirements pursuant to Shariah law. With the proper planning, you will have set up the best method that suits your individual needs, saves you money, and satisfies the requirements of Allah (s.w.t.)

Adil Daudi is an Attorney at Joseph, Kroll & Yagalla, P.C., focusing primarily on Asset Protection for Physicians, Physician Contracts, Estate Planning, Business Litigation, Corporate Formations, and Family Law. He can be contacted for any questions related to this article or other areas of law at adil@josephlaw.net or (517) 381-2663.

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ICNA Launches Campaign on Understanding Sharia

June 9, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

By Rida Fozi, ICNA

Hartford, CT (June 5, 2011) – From a thought-provoking performance at Sunday’s entertainment night, to jam-packed sessions with various scholars the ICNA-MAS Convention was the place to be this Memorial Day weekend.

2011 convention videos are now available exclusively on ICNA TV channel.

More people attended the ICNA convention this year than any other in the past 4 decades.

A record 18,900 people attended the three-day conference entitled “Quran: Guidance Towards a Just and Balanced Way,” 4,900 of which were unique online viewers. Convention-goers benefited from nearly 80 sessions by over 100 prominent scholars, leaders and activists from across the country and around the world. The overwhelmingly successful Youth Conference ran parallel to the ICNA-MAS Convention, and crowds lined the entrance as speakers discussed “Diamonds in the Rough: Heroes of the Past.”

Reverend Dennis Perry of the Aldersgate United Methodist Church in Alexandria, VA was honored for his interfaith and community work with the Community Service Award.

National and local leadership of organizations including ISNA, CAIR, MSA, MANA and MUNA attended the convention this year, and were recognized at the Community Leaders Luncheon on Sunday.

The Islamic Circle of North America launched its nationwide, yearlong “Understanding Shariah” campaign at this year’s conference, which, according to president Zahid Bukhari, “will educate the American public on the definition and place of Shariah in Islam.” Says Bukhari, “Our campaign will also counter Islamophobia that is fostered and spread by groups who hide behind the false guise of an anti-Shariah movement.”

ICNA plans to develop an online portal as part of the campaign in order to support those engaged in similar efforts to shed light on religious freedom and the concept of Shariah. The organization also hopes to mobilize the Muslim community to undertake several grassroots efforts to better explain Shariah, and intends to partner with various faith and civic organizations to reach this goal.

The convention also marked the beginning of ICNA and ICNA Relief’s Back to School Giveaway campaign, a two-month long initiative that will culminate in a series of free school supply giveaways in low-income areas in the month of Ramadan (August 2011). The Back to School Giveaway, previously hosted in New York, New Jersey and Washington, DC is now expanding to Houston, Chicago and Southern California. Mahmood Aijazi, national director of the Back to School Giveaway hopes more cities will follow ICNA’s lead and host giveaways in their respective areas.

Aijazi says the initiative is necessary because “it’s part of our duty to help our society. We need to go out, reach out to others and give back to our communities.”

Social media played a significant role in this year’s convention, with ICNA hitting its 10,000th Twitter follower and 14,000 Facebook likes over the weekend. Perhaps the most creative initiatives at this year’s conference were the “surprise events”, exclusive to those who are members of ICNA’s social media fan base.

The attendees then enjoyed one-on-one time with renowned speakers. ICNA also offered a live webcast of selected sessions for the second year in a row, and families as far away as Trinidad were able to enjoy the lectures. One convention attendee said this spurred his family to raise the money to attend in person next year.

And bringing families together is a staple of the convention. In the middle of the day you’ll find parents and their children lunching together or friends strolling through the bazaar searching for the perfect gift. Strangers will stop you and ask your opinion on the right hijab color or ask you to borrow your charger to recharge their cell phones. The ICNA-MAS Convention is that experience that brings together people of all backgrounds for a unified purpose. And as one speaker said, “It just gets better and better every year.”

Credits:
Article: Rida Fozi. Photographs: Arfa Aijazi, Waqas Syed, Rida Fozi. Videos: Talha Faruqui, Anas Faruqui

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The Quest for Swat…!

September 3, 2009 by · Leave a Comment 

By Tariq Choudry

June 8, 2009–Swat valley is one of the most beautiful landscapes in the world and is known for its splendid natural beauty and legendary hospitality.  The people are somber yet innocent however, reluctant to care about the worldly affairs due in part because of inherent poverty, government’s innate laxity towards general education and welfare of the citizens; and mistreatment of tribesmen.  The ordinary people are hardworking and steadfast in fundamental aspects of religious duties.  They flout deep political dogma in favor of performing religious duties and often defer chores of utmost necessity to fulfill their routine spiritual desires – prayers.  Subtly, the ultimate warriors so they claim to be the guardians of ultimate fate and fraternity betraying all rules of shariah went fervently assailing with full thrust, wit and will, destroying all dwellings of the in-candy poor citizens leaving with plight to ponder their fate and fathom.  Something is happening there, and I’m getting a little worried. To organize my discussion, I suggest that we take one step back in the causal chain and protect our peace, privacy, and wellbeing.

All the deals that The Taliban’s make or desire are strictly one-way.  They get all the rights, and the other party gets all the debit and obligation to the society.  This seems to be their ultimate demand. Their cock-and-bull legends are becoming increasingly parochial. They have already begun to goad muddle-headed grizzlers into hurling phantoms. Now fast-forward a few years to a time in which the society might have enabled the Talibans of Pakistan to create a world without history, without philosophy, without science, without reason—a world without beauty of any kind, without art, without literature, without culture, without freedom of even religion but theirs. If you don’t want such a time to come then we all must subject the so called Taliban’s belief systems to the rigorous scrutiny they warrant. Help me focus on the major economic, social, and political forces that provide the setting for the expression of a corrupt agenda. 

Though many people agree that we must work together against anti- pluralism, resistentialism, etc. The Talban’s really struck a nerve when they claim to be the guardians of shariah.  That’s why the so called “Taliban’s” are trying so hard to prevent themselves from full exposure that they think we want them to paint people of different races and cultures as inarticulate alien forces undermining the coherent national will.

Do we not, as rational men and women, owe it to both our heritage and our posterity to present another paradigm in opposition to their boisterous posture? I think we do. Should we sit back and let them exert more and more control over innocent individuals, or should we unmask their true faces and intentions in regard to Stalinism? That choice sure sounds like a no-brainer. The “Talibanism” has lost what little credibility they once had by helping to unravel normal citizens from their own towns and cities by fear and plight. And that’s why I say to every one of us with a little wit and will: Have courage. Be honest. Be a true follower of the true fundamentals of our noble religion and refrain from supporting or adopting stern and extreme views that lead the whole of society to a path of mischief and misfortune.  And reinforce the contentions of all reasonable people and confute those of irascible, wicked fence-sitters. The implementation of Shariah law does not have to take a start from Swat or NWFP, it must start from within-and by first adhering to its own demands of treating everyone equally and with respect.  Woe to those who indulge themselves in shameful acts of hurting the children of all ages, women and the sick and the flaky wise elderly in the name of religion. 

However, the quandary that remains a cancer of our society is that billions of dollars in foreign aid has disappeared or consumed by few (or perhaps evil-one) which no-one dares to question and not single penny has seen towards helping the deprived homeless.  At least international media has no reporting on that.  Perhaps the entire society and media has become immune to treachery, infidelity and corruption.  Haven’t we really become a nation of vindictive scumbags with no conscience or dignity for our own apathy?  Look around the misery and sufferings of those living in make-shift tents; those who once lived with grace and dignity in their own moderately built pithy sanctuaries, have been left out under the scorching sun in misery and plight; and a majority of them feel humiliated to seek public aid.  What is their fault?  What have they done wrong?  Isn’t it the government’s full responsibility to provide maximum protection and comfort from elderly to the infant!  Instead, hundreds of private organizations and NGOs are playing the key role of taking care of their needs and desires.  Those who once lived with grace and pride are being humiliated in the open-air with no guards to protect their modesty, security or creed.  Where are those who are hiding their faces cowardly behind the black scarves pretending to be the lieutenants of the lords?  If they are true to their cause, they must face the reality like Spartans and create an environment of trust in order to advocate and defend their scrutiny with poise.

Once Talibans realize that they have in fact inflicted atrocious wounds to the naive citizens, maybe then they will see, and I deeply believe that it will be within our grasp to honor our nation’s glorious mosaic of cultures and ethnicities. Be grateful for this first and last tidbit of comforting news. The Talibans like to disguise the complexity of issues, the brutality of class, and the importance of religion and culture in the construction and practice of conformism. Such activity can flourish only in the dark, however. If you drag them into the open, Talibans and their cronies will run for cover, like cockroaches in a dirty kitchen when the light is turned on suddenly during the night. That’s why we must push the envelope on our knowledge of the world around us. As this letter draws to a close, I want to challenge you, the reader, to recognize and respect the opinions, practices, and behavior of those with wisdom, will and resort. That’s what is left to do.

Unless there is one single Central Islamic Authority, the dream of implementing Islam as a System, or as an alternative to secular democracy, can never be realized. Without a stable government and an honest leader, Islam may exist, as it is today, like a downgraded ritualistic religion, in which every individual or faction may keep on living on the inane desire of pleasing Allah or rendering Him worship in its own way and in its own right but it can never become a truly Islamic way of life to bring forth its pledged remunerations. And that means the transfer of power from individual provinces, as they exist today; to the Central Authority which itself would work under the Ultimate Sovereignty of Allah, i.e. The Shreah Law. Moreover, this also means the end of the authority of the Ullema and the Muftis of today. The interpretation of the Laws and the formulation of by-laws will be done by the “Central Authority” alone, within the bounds of the Quran. There will be no party or cult, no religious or political parties, not even an opposition party within the Islamic System of governance. That’s the patriotic thing to do, and that’s the right thing to do, to defeat fundamentalism and to adopt the ways of those who render themselves for the sake of tranquility, sovereignty and contentment.   

May Allah SWT guide us in the right direction and help us understand true lessons of religion Islam; and may peace be upon those leading a positive change intended to cultivate an environment of peace and tranquility and justice for all.

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