News & Updates

Thanksgiving in our home

Posted by on Nov 19, 2015 in Featured Article | 0 comments

By Dr. Tasneema Ghazi Turkey Dinner Table

“Mommy, I think we have been living in America long enough to celebrate Thanksgiving!”

My seven years old thinker-daughter said this to me in 1973. We had just moved from Harvard to San Diego where my husband got a teaching job at the university.

We bought our first house in the United States and decided to settle in this lovely land instead of returning to India. America was home now; and it has been ever since.

We all sat down and talked about the history and the significance of this special national holiday for all Americans, both recent immigrants and longstanding natives. We reckoned that Thanksgiving is not holiday centered on religious beliefs, like Christmas or Easter, but it is a national holiday where the citizens of this great nation together offer thanks to their Creator for giving them this land of bounty and keeping it thriving and prosperous.

If anything we can even find in the origins of Thanksgiving the very Islamic principles of migration for the sake of faith, as well as helping those in need. This Pilgrims fled their native England rather than compromise their beliefs. They struggled for existence in the first years of their life in the Plymouth Colony, and if it weren’t for the assistance of the indigenous Wampanoag people the Old World immigrants would not have survived. Does such a story ring a bell with Muslims?

Thanksgiving is about offering thanks to Allah (SWT) for bestowing His grace and blessings upon all of us living in this country. For our first Thanksgiving we invited our dear friend Qiaser Jahan, a graduate student from Pakistan, and Mr. Bari whose grandfather had migrated to California from Punjab in the early 1900. Dr. and Mrs. Dill, both professors at the university also joined us in the celebrations.

We decided that our first Thanksgiving would be in typical American-style, complete with turkey, corn, green beans, pumpkin pie and of course gravy. In the center of the table was a tray with the sign “Prophet Muhammad’s favorite Foods.” This tray contained olives, bread, finely sliced meat, watermelon etc. Dr. Dill offered the du’a before the meal and everyone enjoyed the delicious food.

Since then we have celebrated this most American holiday every year. Sometimes we cooked the turkey on Thanksgiving Day, while at other times it was on a Friday or Saturday, depending on the schedules of family members and guests over the long weekend. In Chicago we once invited a number of visiting poets from India and Pakistan who were in town for a poetry symposium and they asked for a turkey dinner. I prepared the dinner along with a roasted leg of lamb – Indian style. My daughter invited a dozen of her friends from University of Chicago International House. The guest poets sat on the dining table and spread the traditional dastarkhwan/sofrah on our living room floor for the rest of us. The joy of meeting with family and friends and having warm get together was so very important, and it continues to be so.

Thanksgiving is all about praising Allah (SWT) as a country for all of the things He has blessed us with. It is about coming together with family and friends and sharing moments of joy and happiness. And as I.M.A.N.’s Turkey Drive tells us, it should also be about sharing with those less fortunate. It is all about brotherhood, sisterhood, love and peace. This is the spirit of Thanksgiving, and it is the spirit of Islam.

IQRA’ At Parliament of the World Religions

Posted by on Oct 21, 2015 in Featured Article | 0 comments

IQARA’ At

Parliament of the World Religions 2015

 IQRA’ participated in the 2015 Parliament of the World Religions held in Salt Lake City, Utah on October 15-19.       Thanks to relentless commitments of its organizers and Chairman of the Board of Trustee, Imam Malik Mujahid  the event was a great success full of hope and enthusiasm for the common good of humanity and safety of our dear planet.

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IQRA’s Chairman, Dr. Abidullah Ghazi addressed the audience in two sessions.  In the first session he presented the universal position of Islam and talked about the Tawhid, Oneness of God and that we believe as Qur’an says Allah is The Lord of all worlds and Muhammad saw is Mercy to all creations of Allah swt.  Dr. Ghazi also talked about the beliefs of the Muslims that every human being belongs to the human family through Adam As and Hawwa RA.  We are all brothers and sisters, one big family.

Dr. Ghazi’s talk started an interesting discussion among the curious audience.  He summarized by saying that “Muslims are Interfaith community.”

In the second session Dr. Ghazi shared IQRA”s unique experience of developing and implementing an integrated program of Madrasah education in Singapore.  Citing the history of education in Islam he emphasized the fact that separation of ‘ILM, (Knowledge) between the secular and sacred was never the trend in educating Muslim children.  The focus of education in Islam had always been the acquisition of knowledge of the Deen of Allah swt and also the knowledge of the things created by Allah swt.  This holistic and integrated approach to knowledge acquisition is only Islamic approach and must be revived in our schools and Madaris.

Dr. Ghazi presented the successful model of Singapore /IQRA’ Madrasah curriculum and teachers’ training (human resource development) to be adopted by all full time Islamic schools and Madaris.

Dr. Ghazis’ presentation made the audience thinking about the importance of a unifying approach to curriculum development and methods of teachings.

Dr.  Ghazi also chaired two other sessions during the conference.

IQRA’s Book Service Director, Mr. Shahab Khan was represented IQRA’ in the Conference.  He remained busy sharing with the conference guests IQRA’s many projects and its unique publications.  He related to everyone the story of IARA’s unique pioneering work in the field of education for children, especially Muslim children.  Mr. Salman Ghazi, Director of IQRA’ India also attended the conference and shared IQRA” India’s work and services to the community.

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SHOULDER TO SHOULDER

Posted by on Oct 21, 2015 in Featured Article | 0 comments

“SHOULDER TO SHOULDER”

A Movement to bring Unity

By Dr. Tasneema K. Ghazi

I was filled with hope and exhilaration when I heard the news that a group of young Muslims from the famed indian university Jamia Millia Islamia (New Delhi) are working to bring understanding and unity between Sunni and Shi’i Muslims.

Growing up in India during the 1950s and 1960s I had never heard of tensions between these two communities, at least not in the scale we see in modern times. My cousin married into a Shi’i family, our favorite tutor Mustafa Saheb was Shi’i.  I remember “Aapa jaan,” our primary school principal, with such love and affection.  My mother’s best friend was Shi’i and we loved her and her entire family.

Reading about unspeakable atrocities committed by ISIS, the Asad regime and all the other players in the tragic civil war, it breaks my heart even further to see for the first time the foul element of fanatic sectarianism being thrown into the mix. The brutality that Muslims have committed on each other and on Yazidis and Christians has reached such a level that it will take generations to wash way resentment and antagonism. Centuries it took to build harmonious inter-communal life have been have been swept away.

Therefore, it gave me a ray of hope to read about the efforts of these young people in New Delhi  working to establish a community of Muslims who pray, live and work together in peace.

The group is called “Shoulder To Shoulder.”  They arranged joint Sunni-Shi’i Eid ul-Fitr prayers in at the univeristy’s mosque.  It is an initiative conceived by a group of friends in Jamia Nagar in the face of growing hostility between the two sects of Islam.  More than 10, 000 Shi’i and Sunni Muslims offered their Eid ul-Fitr prayers together.

The group intends to make joint prayer a permanent feature in every city in near future.  Their second big event was the celebration of Eid ul-Adha prayer in the city of Lucknow.  Shi’is and Sunnis prayed Eid ul-Adha together at the Imambara Sibtainabad Lawn, one of the main centers of Shi’i Islam in Lucknow.  This even again proved to be a great success and recieved support from Indians of all walks of life. People from Grand Ayatollah Al-Sayyid Ali Sistani to All India Majlis-e-Mushawarat extended support for the event.

“Shoulder To Shoulder” plans to take their initiative forward.  In the words of one of the organizer, “We plan to take this forward.  From salah/namaz to other humanitarian gestures, we will bridge the gap between the wo sects until both sects are shoulder to shoulder.”

On the same note, a group of Sunni and Shi’i Muslims in the Greater Chicago region have formed the Shia-Sunni Unity Council (SSUC), and they have been working together since 2013 in order to establish harmony and cooperation between the two most important denominations of Islam.  The following points are the stated objectives of SSUC:

  • Promoting mutual understanding between mainstream Sunnis and Shias with respect to differences, and building on common ground.
  • Promoting joint religious, educational and social activities.
  • Promoting peaceful co-existence of the two communities by mitigating derogatory behavior.

Let us pledge that during this month Muharram we will all do our job together to bring peace and harmony between Shi’is and Sunnis, between Muslims of all stripes, between Muslims and non-Muslims, and between all of humanity.

Back to School Special Edition

Posted by on Aug 6, 2015 in Featured Article | 2 comments

START OFF THE SCHOOL YEAR WITH IQRA’S PROGRAM OF ISLAMIC STUDIES

Islamic Studies Aug-NL

IQRA’s core curriculum embraces all the constituent elements of what has traditionally been labeled “Islamic Studies.” This means that its syllabus encompasses the study of the Qur’an, Aqidah, Akhlaq, Fiqh, Sirat un-Nabi, Ulum ul-Hadith, Islamic history and the Arabic language. Furthermore, each of these subjects is taught in separate grade levels (Pre-K to 12) at the appropriate level of understanding. This is an extremely important point, because it’s commonplace for Islamic Studies classes to be taught using books that are not only contextually unsuitable for 21st century Muslim children living in the West, but written far above the readability of a particular age-level, thereby preventing students from digesting and connecting with the goals of instruction. IQRA’s textbooks and workbooks are written and edited by professionally-trained educators who apply uniform readability grids to the instructional material and this allows students to fully absorb and appreciate a lesson’s goal. (more…)

Terri’s Book Corner – February Book Pick

Posted by on Jan 27, 2015 in Featured Article | 0 comments

Zooey The ZebraI’m Learning the Names of Allah (II) – Zoey the Zebra

Author/Translator/Orator: Nur Kutlu

Zoey the Zebra learns that as-Sani means that Allah makes everything in its best shape and form. We are all made differently but are all creatures of Allah. This story helps our children to understand and appreciate our differences and similarities. The books of the series, “I’m Learning Allah’s Names” each take one of the ninety-nine names of Allah and explain them to children through animal characters and their adventures. The child then forever has a very clear story to which they can connect the meaning. At the end of each book, there is a paragraph of explanation about the story and questions to make sure that the children understands the content and the meaning of each name.

Publisher/Manufacturer: Timas Kids

Purchase: $5.36 + Tax & S/H

5 Ways to Teach Muslim Children Tolerance

Posted by on Jan 27, 2015 in Featured Article | 0 comments

February is Black History Month, or National African-American History Month.  Since 1976, this month has been designated to celebrate the social, cultural and political achievements made by African-Americans and recognize the role they have played in American history.

Nearly every teacher in the United States devotes lesson plans designed to educate children on the importance of Black History Month.  Here’s what you can do as a Muslim parent:

Right click and download the activity.

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