islam in america part one

Discussion Group
Based on the Book, “Islam in America”
by Jane L. Smith
Sponsored by Unity of Monterey Bay
Provide a brief overview of Islam
Learn about Islam in America – From the early
days of our nation to the present
Discuss areas of tension regarding Islam in
America – within the Muslim community and
within the non-Muslim community
Explore ways each of us can learn more and
be a light for peace and tolerance
November 11th
Muslim Faith and Practice
Contributors to the Development of Islam
Islam Comes to America
Islam in the African American Community
November 16th
The Public Practice of Islam
Women and the Muslim American Family
Living a Muslim Life in American Society
Islam in America Post 9/11
Self Quiz – Check Your Knowledge
◦ Mosques do not have chairs or pews, why?
◦ An Imam in Islam is equivalent to a priest in
Catholicism, true or false?
◦ Worldwide, women typically attend services held in
a Mosque
◦ Muhammad is to Islam as Jesus is to Christianity,
true or false?
◦ What do Muslims believe is the relationship
between their holy Qur’an and the old and new
Self Quiz – Check Your Knowledge
◦ A series of difficult studies is required to become a
Muslim, true or false?
◦ What are the 5 Pillars of Islam?
◦ Are prayer times fixed or flexible for Muslims?
◦ The Zakat is an alms tax that Muslims give to
worthy causes – is it a fixed amount or variable? Is
it required or optional?
◦ The Qur’an instructs Muslims to visit Mecca on a
pilgrimage – can this requirement be accomplished
“virtually” by study and prayer?
Islam requires submission directly to God.
In Islam there are no clergy
◦ no centrally organized religious authority
◦ no priesthood, sacramental system, and almost no liturgy
◦ no intercessors between Man and God
◦ Islam does have scholars, who serve to answer religiously
challenging questions.
In mainstream Islam, the term Imam means only “somebody
who goes in the front;” the leader of the prayer.
◦ The position requires no particular office or religious
appointment, and can be fulfilled by any mature male
member of the congregation.
Because Muslim prayer is a process of standing, bowing, and
kneeling chairs would become a hindrance.
◦ Prayer is a mental/spiritual and a full body experience to
honor and show vulnerability to God
◦ Most mosques have chairs available upon request for the
elderly or infirm.
For Muslims, prayer, or “salah: is five periods of the day as
measured by the movement of the sun
◦ near dawn - after the sun's noon - in the afternoon after sunset - at nightfall
Shia (one of the branches of Islam) may pray their afternoon
and evening prayers back to back if the duties of the day
make it impossible to pray them at the exact times
The Prophet Muhammad is reported to have said,
"Do not prevent your women from going to the mosque
if they ask your permission.“
Although much is often made of the requirement for women to cover
their heads and wear modest, loose, garments in fact ALL Muslims
are expected to dress modestly
Traditionally the place of worship must have a separate area for
Men are not required to pray in the mosque or in congregation,
except for Friday juma prayer - Prophet Muhammad said, "The
earth is our mosque.“
Traditions vary greatly by culture – in America many women attend
prayer in Mosques and many do not.
Muslims believe that the Quran is the final word
from God and that it is a continuation of messages
brought by the previous prophets including Moses
and Jesus.
Muslims do not believe that the Bible is an accurate
Word of God but rather that it is a mixture of manmade stories and parts of God's Word.
To become a Muslim one must simply pronounce the
Shahaadatayn (Declaration of Faith) with sincerity and
◦ The Shahadah can be declared as follows: "I bear witness
that there is no deity worthy to be worshiped but Allah, and
I bear witness that Muhammad is His servant and
An important principle of Islam is that all things belong to
God, and that wealth is therefore held by human beings in
trust. The word zakat means both 'purification' and 'growth'.
Our possessions are purified by setting aside a proportion for
those in need.
◦ Each Muslim calculates his or her own Zakat individually.
For most purposes this involves the payment each year of
two and a half percent of one's capital.
Islam is based on “Five Pillars of Faith”:
1. Shahada - Acknowledge that "There is
but Allah and Muhammad is his Prophet“
no God
2. Pray a prescribed number of times daily
facing Mecca.
3. Pay Zakat as charitable giving, typically
2.5% of capital
4. Fast for the month of Ramadan refraining from eating,
drinking, smoking, and sexual relations from dawn until
5. Every adult Muslim who is physically and financially able
to do so must make a pilgrimage to Mecca, a city in
Western Saudi Arabia, and the birthplace of Muhammad.
Self Quiz – Check Your Knowledge
◦ True or False? Muslims believe that Muhammad is
the only true Prophet.
◦ Did Muhammad’s wife, Khadija and his daughters
play a role in early Islam?
◦ What are some of the revolutionary ideas
Muhammad introduced?
Self Quiz – Check Your Knowledge
◦ True or false? Unlike Christianity Islam is quite
cohesive with many fewer branches.
◦ The practice and traditions of Islam do, or do not
vary from one country and one culture to the other?
◦ True or False? Some Muslim women today look to
the time of Muhammad as a time when women fully
participated in the private and public practice of
Islam holds that the Quran was revealed by
God to the Prophet Muhammad and
memorized and written down in his lifetime
and thus constitutes the latest and final
revelations of God.
◦ Islam requires belief in all of the Prophets and
Messengers of God including Adam, Jesus, Moses,
and Muhammad
◦ Islam holds that the Prophets, or Messengers, are
not divine, and that designation is reserved only
for God.
At the age of 25, Muhammad married Khadijah, a
wealthy business woman 15 years his senior. The
marriage lasted for 25 years and was a happy one.
Reportedly Khadijah was the firsts to believe that
Muhammad was the Prophet of God.
Khadijah bore Muhammad 4 daughters (and two
sons who died in childhood), at least one of whom,
Fatimah, was politically active
Muhammad's pronouncement that there was only one God,
and his call to destroy idols threatened the very livelihood of
the rich Meccans who profited from Mecca's role as Arabia's
most popular pilgrimage center.
Muhammad’s instructions to practice charity to the poor ran
contrary to the existing practice of the day
Muhammad’s instance that in his sight, and that of the
Creator, all men were equal and if they became Muslim would
all become brothers. This was an unheard of concept in the
Arabia of his day.
Self Quiz – Check Your Knowledge
◦ Who was the earliest recorded Muslim in America?
◦ Muslim immigration to America has occurred in
several waves, notably at the end of WW1 and after
WW2 – name some of the countries from which
Muslims immigrated.
◦ What are the two states in America in which most
Muslim’s live?
◦ What is the estimated number of Muslims in
America in 2010?
Istafan, “the Arab”, was a guide in 1539 for the Spanish
that wished to settle the area that would later be called Arizona. He
was from Morocco and had previously been to the New World in the
ill-fated expedition of Panfilo de Narvaez to Florida in 1527. Istafan
was one of four to survive a five thousand mile tour of the American
Muslim Americans are racially diverse, Two-thirds are foreign-born.
Although estimates vary there are approximately 7million American
Muslims in 2010.
◦ The majority, about three-fifths of Muslim Americans are of South Asian and Arab
origin, a quarter of the population are recent converts of whites and indigenous
African Americans, while the remaining are other ethnic groups which includes Turks,
Iranians, Bosnians, Malays, Indonesians, West Africans, Somalis, Kenyans, with also
small but growing numbers of white and Hispanic
California and New York have the largest Muslim populations
Self Quiz – Check Your Knowledge
◦ Did Muslims come to America as part of the slave
◦ There have been many famous African American
converts to Islam, name a few?
◦ What do you think are some of the reasons for the
growing African and Hispanic Muslim communities?
The diary of Bilail Mahomet, probably
taken into slavery around 1725, is
written in West African Arabic script
and now located in the University of Georgia
African Americans make up over 40% of the
Muslim community in America
◦ A few well known converts include Malcolm X, Louis
Farrakhan and Elijah Muhammad of the nation of
Islam is believed to be the fastest growing religion in America
– what reaction do we see from non-Muslim Americans?
Muslims are increasingly visible in America, particularly in
urban centers – what are some of the reactions you see?
One of the questions before American Muslims is how to
participate in American society and still retain their core
family values and stability. How is this similar/different than
prior immigrant groups?
Their growing numbers make American Muslims a political
force that the existing political parties increasingly will seek
to attract and accommodate. Overtime how do you think this
will change the face of America?
Some Americans express fear at the growing Muslim
presence in America – is this all 9/11 based or are
there other reasons?