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Monthly Archives: September 2009

Record-setting participation in ICSC Ramadan activities

Ramadan at the Islamic Center of Southern California was indeed a unique experience. We were able to serve Iftar every night to an average of 400 people.  We hosted hundreds for taraweeh prayers and spiritual nights. And we engaged young community members who recited impressive Quranic excerpts in for the community

The ICSC iftars were made possible thanks to the generous contribution of our gracious donors whose response was overwhelming.  Exotic meals were provided by various restaurants and served by a group of volunteers, who went beyond the call of duty to host the community and make the breaking of fast a truly spiritual experience.  Everyone was trying to gain the pleasure of Allah (swt) by maximizing their good deeds, providing Iftar, serving Iftar, or simply cleaning up afterward.  Continue reading

Carrying inspiration beyond the holy month

As we walk out of Ramadan, we share significant feelings and thoughts, and hopefully will make important resolutions.

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  • We share the feeling of being light, less clinging to the Earth and aspiring for the highest realms of spirituality.  This is the result of feeding the soul, not just attending to the body.
  • We feel clean and pure as we rejoice in the promise of the prophet (pbuh) that whoever fasted with faith and dedication will have all his past errors and sins blotted out and forgiven.  Continue reading

Youth excitement filled all-night Ramadan events

This past Ramadan had been a time of renewal for the Muslim Youth Group of the Islamic Center of Southern California- a renewal of faith and of friendship. Earlier in the summer, the MYG Board had decided not to hold many events during Ramadan, but to have at least two spiritual nights as well as a Toy Drive.

The first spiritual night was a success in numbers; it seems that our weekly activities during the summer were able to draw a good crowd for our Ramadan activities. We had at least 35 youth at our first spiritual night. After the usual taraweeh prayers downstairs, the youth would gather inside or outside to play basketball, board games, or just socialize. Around midnight we gathered everyone upstairs in the MYG room and began wrapping gifts for our Toy Drive. Continue reading

Ramadan inspires community service

Sept. 11, 2001 brought two tragedies for Muslims:  the loss of innocent lives that day and a near-irrevocable damage to the perception of our faith in this country.  For years since, the anniversary of 9/11 has been a time that those around me have asked about Islam’s position on issues such as violence & terrorism.  My assurances that these acts had nothing to do with Islam were often met by skeptical nods.  So with this year’s timely Humanitarian Day of Service, Alhamdulillah, things were pleasantly different.

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Humanitarian Day, held during the month of Ramadan, is organized by the ILM foundation.  On Sept. 12, members of mosques and Muslim community centers across Southern California came to the Bilal Learning Center in South Central L.A., and on Sept. 13 to Skid Row, one of the most economically disadvantaged areas in the country, in an effort to make a difference.  Continue reading

Longer, hotter fasts test athletes

When Adam Burpee’s high school football teammates rush to nearby water coolers in the afternoon heat, he watches and waits.

On a normal day, in a normal month of his senior season, the 17-year-old would take the opportunity to hydrate, but with the Muslim holy month of fasting underway, he won’t have any food or drink until after sundown — at least two hours after the end of his practices.

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It’s not easy, he said, especially with August and September temperatures that have often crept up to triple-digit levels.  Continue reading

Does Islam mistreat women?

In today’s Los Angeles Times ( Sept. 8 ) one of the lead stories is about a Sudanese woman who has been sentenced to one month in prison for wearing pants in public.  She was originally going to receive 40 lashes for the crime as well, but her sentence was commuted, most likely to avoid further public outcry.  Earlier this year, news about the sanctioning of marital rape in Afghan legal code made its way to the outside world, sparking outrage, especially since things are supposed to be getting better, not worse, for the women in Afghanistan ever since the US-led invasion in 2001.

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At the same time, Muslim women around the world see some improvements in their lives but, more often than not, the difficulties they face can often be linked to unjust interpretations of Islamic and other laws that place women at an extreme disadvantage.  Continue reading

Moon-sighting madness

No Ramadan would be complete without confusion surrounding the end of the holy month. You might be planning an Eid get together or looking forward to meeting others for the morning takbeer when a friend tells you that he is not sure if he will be celebrating with you because the end date of Ramadan is not certain — or so he says.

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While some argue that, cloudy skies or not, they must spot the crescent moon to confirm the end of Ramadan, other communities, like the ICSC, rely on astronomical calculations, which are 100% accurate, to plan then end of the month, said Jihad Turk, religious director at the center. Continue reading

Making Eid relevant in America

Muslims in countries across the globe break out into mass celebrations during the Eid holidays, with feasts and festivals aplenty. In the United States, however, Muslim holidays are much different.

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Although still special days, the celebrations can be smaller and far more subtle than large-scale events in other parts of the world, or Christmas and Hanukkah festivities in America.

That makes Eid a unique experience in the United States, particularly for immigrants and converts, so we asked some of our members to tell us how they make the celebrations relevant, especially after having previously been part of mass festivities. Continue reading

Back to school: Knowing your kids’ friends

Sending children back to school can put a lot on a parent’s mind, but perhaps just as important as buying new lunchboxes, arranging class schedules and planning after-school sports is your child’s social life, particularly in high school.

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Friends play a huge role in a teenager’s life, because they affect who they are as a person and the type of activities they participate in. Knowing who your children’s friends are will help you with providing them a good atmosphere that can influence them in a positive way.

Being well acquainted with your children and their friends can also widen your perspective on how they are growing up and what activities they are engaging themselves in. One way to positively influence your child might be through participation in the ICSC’s Muslim Youth Group. Continue reading

Back to school: Balance in education

Among the many gifts that Allah has given to us, the most precious gift is our children. This gift needs to be protected, guided, molded and nurtured.

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The upbringing of our children is one of the most challenging but also the most important responsibility of any parent. Children are a trust given to parents by Allah. We have to fulfill our responsibility by providing parental care, guidance and the best possible education.

I would like to share with you what I consider the most important responsibilities of parents:

1. Parents as role-models: The starting point for education is the example of parents. Continue reading