Thursday, March 02, 2006
  Hijrah to or Hijrah from
Two articles I read recently which I really enjoyed -- not only because they are uplifting stories, but because they are really well written, indepth pieces. So often we get the "headline" news which barely tells us anything.

Mosque works to better the community

Middle East Team in MidWest Football

Of particular interest, in the first article one of the men who moved into a crime ridden neighborhood with the intent of helping make it a better place to live said, "I see coming here as a hijra to live a better life." Not as in live in financial plenty, but as in, this particular neighborhood is full of people who need a helping hand so it is easy for me to fulfill the Islamic commands to help my neighbor.

I found that idea fascinating. Usually hijra (migration) is used to refer to moving away from a corrupt, bad place to a good, wholesome place. The emphasis being on the fact that in the bad place practicing one's religion is difficult, and often one suffers persecution for it, while in the good place it is easy to practice one's religion because lots of other people there are also practicing; it is not only tolerated, but you also have the support of your co-religionists. In fact, there have been some scholars who have said we should move out of non-Muslim majority lands as a matter of religious duty, citing the fact that the Prophet moved from pagan dominated Mecca to Muslim dominated Medinah. (Needless to say, I disagree with this point of view.)

Either way, it was very interesting to read this man's different take on hijrah -- that he was purposefully moving into an area full of corruption and crime, not to convert people, but to help them, and perceived this as his fulfillment of his religious duty of hijrah. I find that notion much more uplifting than the traditional, isolationist interpretation.

And, in fact, one of the reasons Prophet Muhammad moved from Mecca to Madinah was that the tribes in Medina were bickering among themselves and asked him to come and rule between them, as they could not resolve their differences amicably. It was to help those people in their conflicts, much as this man, Br. Bobo, is helping the people of the neighborhood he moved to.

The other reason always stated was that it was possible to practice Islam in Medinah as it was not in Mecca. I really like how the brother Bobo in the Bay area translated that into practice of Islam in his world. It is not Islam to live far removed from the people who need the most help, but to move to the place where you can be of the most use.
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Location: Cincinnati, Ohio, United States

Progressive Muslim, feminist, mom, writer, mystic, lover of the universe and Doug Schmidt, cellist, theologian and imam.

What I'm reading now

Cane River
An interesting exploration of the gradual whiting of a family through slavery to modern days.

To see an archive of all the books I've read (well the ones I've read and review since I started the blog) with comments, please click here

Causes Worth Supporting

This is just a short list -- a few of my favorites.

English Language Islamic Fiction. We need more of it. Lots more.
Pay a Teacher's Salary in Afghanistan. The Hunger site actually has a lot of worthwhile programs. You can find them all here .
Muslims for Progressive Values. My organization. We can always use donations, of time or money!
Human Rights Campaign for the glbt community
National Religious Campaign Against Torture
The ACLU I'm a card carrying member. Hope you'll become one too. The organization that has done the most, as far as I can tell, to pull the countries progressive side together.
Network of Spiritual Progressives. Working to reclaim religion and morality for the religious left.

Blogs Worth Reading

Wanda Campbell also known as Nochipa A very gifted poet and a gentle, compassionate soul. Nochipa and I are on the same page on sooooo many things
Writeous Sister Aminah Hernandez, she's got some excellent latino pieces and always has good writing info on her blog.
Sister Scorpion aka Leila Montour - Leila is a fount of energy, quirky humor, and bad attitude. She's also a talented poet.
Muhajabah Very interesting commentary here. I don't always agree with her, but her pieces are always thought-provoking.
Georgie Dowdell Georgie is a great writer and a good friend.
Louise Marley Another great writer. I think Louise is one of the best sf writers exploring faith themes.
Ink in My Coffee Devon Ellington (who has numerous aliases) who is also the editor of Circadian Poems. A truly inspiring woman with a seemingly endless supply of energy.
Ethnically Incorrect With a name like that, isn't a given I'm going to enjoy this writer?
Freedom from the Mundane Colin Galbraith, another excellent writer, from Scotland.
The Scruffy Dog Review This is a new e-zine with an ecclectic mix of fiction, poetry, and non-fic, some really enjoyable pieces here.
Ramblings of a Suburban Soccer Mom Lara, another gentle soul, very thoughtful.
Circadian Poems A journal of poetry, new stuff up all the time.
Ye Olde Inkwell Michelle writes romance and is one of my writing buddies.
Muhammad Michael Knight The original punk Muslim writer. Like him or love him, Mike is always coming up with the unexpected.

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