08
Jul
10

Are You There God? It’s me, Khalid…..

If you make intense supplication
and the timing of the answer is delayed,
do not despair of it.

His reply to you is guaranteed
but in the way He chooses,
not in the way you choose,
and at the moment He desires,
not the moment you desire

~al-Hikam of  ibn Ata’illah

_____________

https://i0.wp.com/www.usagiyojimbo.com/intro/uytv.jpgAs a child, I used to collect Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle action figures and would always be excited when my mother would take me to Toys R Us to get one. From Rocksteady and Bebop to Usagi Yojimbo and Casey Jones with sports equipment arsenal included, I had every one that you could imagine.  Whenever my mother bought me one, I was really happy.  But on those days when she told me I already had enough, I got really upset with her.   How could she possibly say no to something that would make me happy?

(These days my Ninja Turtles collection, along with my Transformers, Thundercats, Star Wars, and GI Joe collections, is somewhere in Pakistan being played with by kids who probably don’t know that they are worth as collectibles. Twenty years later, I’m over it.  Kind of🙂 Alhamdulillah.  and I love my mom more than I can imagine.  May Allah preserve her inshallah and grant her the best in this world and the best in the next.)

https://i0.wp.com/cdn0.sbnation.com/imported_assets/98996/pp_baby_20photo_20gallery_1152305917514_431365d.jpgIn retrospect, I had done two things that were problematic. The more obvious of the two is that I would get upset when I didn’t get what I wanted.  The seemingly less obvious was not being appreciative when I did get what I wanted.  I would never really say thanks.  I felt happy, but I left it at that.   (I was also 7 years old so give me a break please🙂 )

A lot of us do this in our respective relationships with Allah.  We assess the worth of our relationships with the Divine not necessarily through what we have been given, but through our perception of the response we receive when we explicitly ask for something we want.   If I ask for something and I get it, then I must be doing well.  If I don’t get it, then something must be wrong.   Aside from the pain of being denied something that I really want, I also feel a pain because I subconsciously need a sense validation of my efforts.   I need to know that I am good and that how I am living my life is also good.  But I can’t always tell that right away if I am being denied what I am asking for.   In the absence of some tangible way of measuring my relationship, how do I really know that I am doing ok, or that my relationship with Him is sound?

In a nutshell, the question of “Why” becomes hard to deal with.   Why didn’t I get what I asked for?  Why did this happen to me?  Why does everyone else get what they want, but I don’t?

Ibrahim ibn Adham, rahimahullah, was asked about the verse in the Qur’an that very definitively states that if one was to call upon Allah, regardless of their background, their call would be answered.

And your Lord says Call upon Me, I will respond to you…” Surat Al Mumin, verse 60.

The people asked him if this was the case, then why do our prayers go unanswered.

Ibrahim ibn Adham responds with ten potential reasons:

You know Allah, yet you do not obey Him,
You recite the Qur’an, yet you do not act according to it,
You know Shaytan, yet you have agreed with him,
You proclaim that you love the Messenger of Allah, yet you abandon his Sunnah,
You proclaim your love for Paradise, yet you do not act to gain it,
You proclaim your fear for the Fire, yet you do not prevent yourselves from sins,
You say “Indeed death is true”, yet you have not prepared for it,
You busy yourselves with finding faults with others, yet you do not look at your own faults,
You eat that which Allah has provided for you, yet you do not thank Him,
You bury your dead, yet you do not take a lesson from it.

https://i1.wp.com/www.positivityblog.com/_images/080711_think.jpgA very insightful set of considerations that help us to examine at what we might be doing that’s problematic and in turn preventative of things going the way we want them to. Realistically through, there’s not really too much else we can look towards.   It’s not possible for us to begin to put definitive answers as to why Allah has decided what He has.  Ultimately when the question of why is asked, we can really ultimately only say “I don’t know” and then be reliant.

So how do I know that I am ok?  That I am a good person?  That my actions are being accepted?  I don’t.  I just have to try my best and keep trying my best and allow for that to build into an ever-lasting satisfaction that gets me through times that are tough and helps me appreciate times that are not.  I might not have gotten the girl, or the car, or the job.  But I was still given a lot of other things. And I shouldn’t forget that.   My relationship with Allah has to in fact be a relationship, not just something that exists on an abstract level.  Just like any friendship would allow for me to go above and beyond in understanding my friend, so too I have to work at developing a close relationship with the Divine that allows for me to really trust His responses to my requests because I know He wouldn’t do anything to hurt me.

May Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala accept all of our prayers and secret wishes, as there are no secrets from Him. He is the All-Knowing, the Merciful. Ameen.

08
Jul
10

Headed to Beantown

https://i1.wp.com/www.celebrateboston.com/images/culture/nicknames/beantown01.jpgFor those of you who are in Boston, I’m going to be giving the Khutbah at the ISB Cultural Center this Friday inshallah.  The masjid is located at 100 Malcolm X Blvd. Boston, MA 02120 and Jummah starts at 1pm.

I’ll be there with Haroon Moghul teaching at the Fawakih Program. More details on that can be found at http://fawakih.com/.  We’re going to be teaching Saturday and Sunday inshallah and Haroon is going to also be giving a lecture at Masjid Yusuf Saturday night. Details on that are below via the Maydan Institute’s blog. (I’ll explain in a later post what Maydan is.)

Join Maydan’s Executive Director Haroon Moghul and Senior Instructor Imam Khalid Latif at Masjid Yusuf on Saturday night, July 10th, 2010. At 8:45p.m., Haroon will be presenting on Muslims and Islamophobia, introducing strategies to engage media, offer alternatives to negative narratives, understand how and why Islamophobia works the way it does and empower Muslim communities with better and more diverse representation. Where: 186 Chestnut Hill A … Read More

via The Maydan Institute

If  you’re in the area and want to meet up let me know.  I should be free Friday all day after Jummah.

On a totally separate topic, I had a follow up interview with CNN on the op-ed post I wrote for them on recognizing Eid Holidays in the NYC Public School system (to read that article click here). You can check out the video by clicking here

01
Jul
10

Making Moves: CNN op-ed and some other recent press

I had an op-ed piece go up today on CNN.  It’s the first time I’ve written something like this so I’d appreciate some feedback.  It’d be great if you all could share the link to it with your networks and repost, retweet, and whatever else can be done.

Some other (relatively) recent stuff you can check out as well:

Italian Magazine ilsole24ore Article link 1 link 2 (I can’t read Italian so I don’t know what this says actually🙂 )

CNN Interview
Towards a Younger, Hipper Islamclick here

Altmuslimah Interview on Domestic Violence You Are No Longer A Blessing in His Life click here

Salon.com Article A Troubling Cultural Gap. If today’s young American Muslims can’t relate to their imams, where will they turn? click here
_____________________________________________

Editor’s note: Imam Khalid Latif is a chaplain for New York University and Executive Director of the school’s Islamic Center.

By Khalid Latif, Special to CNN

I was recently eating dinner at a restaurant with a friend near Times Square when it became time for me to pray. Muslims pray five times a day and this particular prayer, called Maghrib, is performed at sunset.

Having lived in New York City for decades, I’ve become comfortable praying pretty much anywhere. It also doesn’t hurt that there are stranger things happening on the streets here than a young guy bowing and kneeling for a few minutes.

After I started to pray, a tour bus parked in front of me and a large group of people proceeded to spill out.

While I continued, a woman from the group came closer to where I was praying. She removed a scarf from her neck, placed it on the ground so that I would be praying on something clean, then walked away before I finished….

To continue reading, please click here.

A child at a recent rally for Muslim holidays to be observed by New York city schools.

08
Jan
10

Sorry For being away. Here’s a gift to make it up

So I haven’t updated my blog in about 3 months but inshallah I’ll be better with it from now on.   The past three months have been interesting and I found myself wanting to write on a lot of different occasions, but never got myself to it.  Lately I’ve been thinking about discipline a lot though and may start off with something on that.   or maybe not.

One of the things that has been keeping me busy is a conference that we are planning at the Islamic Center at NYU.  It’s going to take place on Friday, January 22nd and Saturday January 23rd and I am hoping that it’ll become a permanent annual event in NYC inshallah.   We have a good program put together (and hopefully it’ll go up in a few days🙂 ) and an amazing line of speakers.   The flier is below.  If you’re interested in registering or want more details check out http://www.icnyu.org/conference

We’re trying our best to not turn away anyone for a lack of funds so if you are interested in attending but can’t afford it, just send an email to conference@icnyu.org and we’ll try to work something out.  Also please be mindful that we are limited on our own resources🙂 so only ask for financial assistance if you really do need it.

Please do help spread the word

Image

26
Oct
09

Mecca, Mecca, Mecca. My, oh My!

I’ve copied and pasted below an entry from 2005 that was the first one I wrote on my original blog.  (The images are not from the original though)  These were some thoughts that I had before going for the Hajj in 2005, and in a day or two I’ll put up an entry that I had written when I had returned from there.

For those who are interested, the Islamic Center at NYU will be sponsoring an Umrah trip in March of 2010 in conjunction with Dar es-Salaam Travel Agency entitled The MeccOdyssey.    Details of it are at the bottom of the entry.  I would highly recommend to everyone who is even slightly interested in attending to push yourself to do.   The cities of Mecca and Medina are truly unlike any other wAlhamdulillah.

Pre-Hajj Thoughts 2005
It only occurred to me a few hours ago how important and real my journey to Mecca is. When I decided to go for hajj a few months ago, the thought of it all was somewhat intriguing. My mind would sometimes wander here and there, thinking about everything from the kaaba to the masjid of the prophet Muhammad salallahu alayhi wa salaam, to being able to eat a halal whopper from the burger king next to the haram. But now as I sit on my bed less then twenty four hours away from leaving the United states, my thoughts lie elsewhere.

Today a lot of people who I have been blessed with being close to said good-bye to me. For the next three weeks I will have no communication with them whatsoever. I am leaving behind the emails, the instant messengers, the blackberries, and the text messages. When I put my hand in my pocket it won’t be to silence a vibrating cell phone, beckoning me to answer it by the rhythmic tremors it unleashes upon me until I give in to its whims. When I awake in the morning, my first inclination won’t be to run to my laptop to see what new correspondence I might have received electronically during the course of the night. When I return to my place of rest in the evening from a day out in the world, it wont be in a state of tiredness that disallows the formulation of any coherent thoughts; a state that is further inhibited by an array of broadcasted images spewing notions of violence, hatred, anger and injustice from all over the world. None of this will be with me when I leave from here. What I will take is myself and the advice that has been given to me.

All around me people have been telling me what I should do and what I shouldn’t do. Literally about 200 people have sent me emails with their advice, their insights, but most importantly their requests for du’aas. The idea that their name might be mentioned in the holiest city in the world is an opportunity that they cannot let pass them by. But then the thought enters my mind that who am I to seek anything on their behalf? That it is true that I will be in the city, but what justice can I do to the sanctity that embodies it? That here is the place where Hajar alayhi salaam ran between the hills of Safa and Marwa, ascending to their very summits in hopes that she might find some nourishment for her infant child Ismael alayhi salaam. That here is the place when Ibrahim alayhi salaam, the friend of Allah, built, or rebuilt, the blessed Kaaba along with Ismael Alayhi salaam, many years ago. That this House, the kaaba, throughout time was under the protection of Allah, even when armies marched with elephants against it and the people fled to the hills, their fleeing was done with the understanding that Allah would protect His city, and protect He did. That most importantly in this city some generations late the best of creation, Muhammad ibn Abdullah, salallahu alayhi wa salaam, would be born; that that streets are not just streets, but they are more that that because he walked on them; that the winds are unique in that they carried his blessed words throughout the town to anyone who would hear it; that his blessed forehead prostrated on that same ground that potentially two million hajjis would be prostrating upon in the coming weeks. What then could I possibly offer to such a noble place? In trying to find answer to this question, I was reminded of some words that a close friend and teacher of mine sent to me when I was going to visit Mecca before. Although at that time I was going for umrah, a smaller pilgrimage, his overall message still applies.

“Dear Khalid, Umrah is a great blessing to this Ummah and the Tawfeeq to perform it is indeed a special mercy from Allah Ta’ala, a manifestation of His love for you, for with the open invitation for all here is His guidance for you to actually embark on this noble and virtuous journey to the sacred house of Allah subhanahu wa ta’aala, any invitation to ones home is a symbol of affection and care and remember the nonbelievers are not even allowed therein and of the believers only a privileged few, this is the smaller pilgrimage and pilgrimage is a migration from all else to Allah swt, an act of devotion and a quest of the pious, every prayer there in is multiplied, every Subhaan Allah, every Allahu akbar even to gaze at the holy ka’aba itself is an act of reverence and a measurement of your love for Allah ta’ala.

You may pray and beg for everything and every one and maybe even for me but most of all ask for the victory of Allah for the Ummah of His beloved Muhammad saws, pour your heart out let the heart ache you feel for the rest of this glorious nation find representation in your dua and tears there in the holiest of places, the pain of orphaned children, the hunger of our poor, the bleeding heart of our mothers, the screams of our tortured and the agony of our elders and pious, may almighty Allah change our hearts and the material mind set we have cultivated and the negligence to Salaah and our collective distance from the sacred Sunnah for victory comes from and only with righteousness and verily everything else is temporary and deceiving, may Almighty Allah in His greatest kindness accept and bless you your sacred Umrah.”

From here I start my journey. I’ll be back in a few weeks inshallah and my posts will be more regular then🙂 I request of all of you who are reading to please keep my in your prayers; that Allah accepts my Hajj and the Hajj of all those who have gone before me, who are going now, and will be going in the future; that He makes things easy for all of those who we are leaving behind and allows us to be together again soon, and that He accepts all of our prayers and secret wishes, as there are no secrets from Him. He is the All-Knowing, the Merciful. Ameen.
_______________________________________

so if you’re interested, the IC is going to Mecca and Medina inshallah.   Details can be found at http://www.icnyu.org/umrah or below.  Please do share with your networks and friends.

**AN IMPORTANT NOTE ON VISA APPROVAL PROCESS FOR THOSE TRAVELING WITHOUT MAHRAM**

We have received many inquiries from individuals wanting to participate in our upcoming Umrah Trip but are concerned about getting visa approval without a mahram.   We are in conversation with the appropriate offices right now to get the necessary approvals and will need to show them a list of registrants at some point soon.  As such, it would be very important for those of you who are interested in attending to register so that we can show those offices that there is a high need for the approval.   In the event that the visa approval is denied, you will be refunded any deposits and subsequent payments that were made. So please do your best to register in a timely fashion as the more people we can show them require this accomodation, the more likely they will be to approve it.

Reigstration information can be found below as well as on our website at http://www.icnyu.org/umrah


ImageJoin the Islamic Center at NYU for its first ever Umrah Trip this Spring!

Over Spring Break 2010, the Islamic Center at New York University will be leading students, alumni, young professionals and Muslims from the U.S., Canada and more, in a one-week religious experience like no other.  This trip is open to all Muslims, regardless of their affiliation with New York University or otherwise.  We’re working with Dar El Salam Travel Agency, a leader in hajj and umrah travel for many years, to ensure that people from all over the United States, Canada and other parts of the world can travel with us.

This one-week package includes all of the following for one low per-person price:

Round-trip flight from New York’s JFK to Jeddah via Dubai on Emirates Airlines.  Depart New York Saturday, March 13, 2010, and Return Sunday, March 21, 2010.

One-Way Airfare from Jeddah to Madinah (or ground transportation based on arrival time) on Sunday, March 14

Three nights accommodation at the four-star Dallah Taibah or four-star Harmony Hotel in Madinah: Classes and organized trips to the Prophet’s Mosque.

Half-day sightseeing trip of the Madinah “Mazarat”: A guided tour of Islam’s most sacred sites.  With learned guides, you’ll experience Islamic history like never before.

One-way Ground Transportation from Madinah to MeccaImage

Three nights accomodation at the four-star Zamzam/Al-Safwa or five-star Hilton Towers in Mecca.  Package will include ‘umrah at the Haram, as well as classes and visits to the sites surrounding Mecca.

Quad Room Price: $1,775.00 per person*
Triple Room Price: $1,820.00 per person*
Double Room Price: $1,950.00 per person
*

Child Rates
Up to 2 years of Age: $250 only
2 – 7 years of age without bed: $1350 no bed
7 – 11 years of age with bed: -$250 from the adult rate
12 years of age and up:  Adult rate

**** Register today by clicking here ****

* These prices are based on travel from JFK, and include all the above services and features.  Other departure options include Toronto, Houston, Chicago, San Francisco and Los Angeles and will be an additional $300 per person.

Should you have any questions or concerns, feel free to contact us at any time at 212.998.4712 or via email at umrah@icnyu.org.

For more information, please visit http://www.icnyu.org/umrah

24
Oct
09

The Status of Jesus and Mary in Islam

The following lecture was delivered at the University of Alabama in Birmingham some time ago .   Check it out and do share with others if you think it is of benefit.

you may have to turn the volume up a little bit🙂

22
Oct
09

So Now that you are Muslim, you should probably think about getting married….

I’ve had the opportunity to meet a lot of converts to Islam in my life. Most of them face a series of challenges as they seek to adjust to their new lifestyles respectively. Today I was reminded of one of my favorite experiences with a friend who is a convert from about eight years ago.

A young woman had converted in our community and the usual excitement was in the air. A large group of people had welcomed her at her conversion and then a smaller group of people began to teach her the basic things she needed to know. I thought things were going well for her but a few weeks later I noticed she was kind of down. When I asked her what the problem was she said she was concerned about how to find someone to marry. I thought for a moment and then told her that she was only 19 years old. Then I reminded her that she had been Muslim for only about three weeks and maybe she should finish learning how to pray first before thinking about the lovely hardship in a young Muslim’s life that is called marriage.

To show how much we’ve grown as a community, today, eight years later, a young woman entered into my office looking for some advice. She had been told by many of her friends that she needed to start thinking about marriage because she was getting older. She became a Muslim about a month ago.

Are you kidding me?

**Sigh**

Marriage itself seems to plauge most Muslims’ minds across the world. The desire and pursuit of companionship most definitely becomes a critical factor in most peoples lives, making it all the more frustrating when it doesn’t happen as easily as one would like it to. For a convert though it becomes a substantially more frustrating experience, as they at times have to deal with everything a person who has been born into a Muslim family has to deal with and even more. Its important for those of us who were born into Muslim families to reflect on the experience of a convert so as to not cause undue hardship on someone for the simple reason that we didn’t think where they were coming from.

Those of us who are not Muslim should really imagine what it would be like to be a part of a non-Muslim family. For most it becomes quite the struggle, as you are trying to learn the religion yourself while at the same time be a spokesperson for it to people who don’t know anything about it. Whether the family is accepting or rejecting of the conversion, it can still be a very stressful situation where one is expected to know the answer to everything. This becomes a problem when our help of those who are converts stops 10 minutes after we’ve given them a hug the day of their shahada. It becomes an even bigger problem when those of us who decide to give advice start off by saying things like “you should probably think of getting married now”. Can you imagine if you are a 19 year old girl and you come home to talk to your parents’ about your newly found religion and then tell them that you were told you have to get married soon? When I was 19 years old I told my dad I wanted to get married and he told me I was stupid and to stop saying stupid things🙂 and my parents are Muslim alhamdulillah.

Another factor thats key to understand here is how hard it can be for a convert to find someone to get married to. I participated on a panel in which one of the speakers stated quite matter-of-factly that parents always know whats best for children and when it comes time to get married, one should fully rely on their families to help them find someone. Afterwards a young girl came up to me quite concerned, stating that not only is her family not Muslim, but they don’t even like Islam. So how can that be the way for her to get married? The cultural norms that dictate “proper” ways to get married can be quite confusing to many Muslims, not just converts. There is no expectation of someone to commit a cultural apostacy upon embracing Islam. Rather one should be able to infuse their Islam within their own cultural dynamic, allowing for even further evidence as to how truly beautiful this deen is that it can be applied anywhere and at anytime for any person or people. Yet our attachment to “our ways” can be more detrimental than we even realize.

I met a young Chinese girl once who approached me asking questions about Islam. Usually when I speak to someone who is interested in converting, I ask them what issues they have with the religion, so as to not waste time speaking about things that already make sense to them. After meeting with me a few times, the girl told me that she did have one issue with Islam. She couldn’t understand why if she became Muslim she would have to marry someone who is Chinese. I asked where she got that from. She said her friends’ parents tell them quite often that they can only marry people from their own cultural background, and if they don’t they are bad Muslims. That is what kept her from becoming Muslim.

A final point of importance would be to realize that there is a good chance that prior to entering into Islam, a person who converts might have had a relationship with someone that makes it that much harder for them to deal with the hardships of marriage after. If you’ve dated someone, been physically engaged with someone, it can become that much more of a struggle to be alone because you’ve felt what its been like to not be alone. Here its also important to realize that if someone has been in a physical relationship prior to their embracement of Islam, its not something that we should hold against anyone after they’ve become Muslim. Especially for women who are unable to cover up sexual experiences from their past, the consideration should consistently be there that they are not lacking in any way because they are not virgins. Its not for us to define someone based off of our relative definitions of whats “good” and whats “bad” when Allah has decided that these people are so good that He erases from their records anything wrong that they’ve done up until that point and keeps only that which is good.

Sorry if thats a lot of rambling. I might finish this later inshallah




Who is doing the thinking


My name is Khalid Latif. I work as the Executive Director and Chaplain for the Islamic Center at New York University as well as a Chaplain for the NYPD, New York City Police Department.

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