Imam Zaid Shakir


Posted on 2016-05-22

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thumbnail Amanda Beam, Contributing Writer, May 21, 2016 Responses to terms can be telling. Just a mention of the Black Lives Matter movement can elicit some of the most visceral reactions from people of all races. No matter how little they know the history or purpose of the activist effort, certain folks feel emotion well up in their stomach upon just hearing the short phrase “black lives matter.” For some, it’s liberation. For others, disgust. As the Deputy Director of Faith and Formation for the PICO National Network, the Rev. Alvin Herring understands the power in these words. And so before… Read More - All news


Imam Zaid Shakir


Posted on 2016-05-06

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thumbnail April 30, 2016 witnessed the passing of Daniel Berrigan. Daniel Berrigan, along with his brother, Philip, both ordained priests, are among the most recognizable names in the history of protest against American military imperialism. One of the distinctions of the Berrigan Brothers was the strong spiritual basis of their activism. They had a “staying power” that is rare among many who wade into the murky waters of dissent and civil disobedience. The source of that staying power is clear in the following statement, spoken by Daniel Berrigan: “The short fuse of the American left is typical of the highs and… Read More - All notes


Imam Zaid Shakir


Posted on 2016-05-01

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thumbnail Complaining (Shakawa) to other fallible humans has no part in our religion. Sincere advice (Nasiha) does. What is the difference between the two? Usually, the complaint starts with what we describe as the first person, “I”. For example, “I don’t like…” “I don’t feel…” “I want…” “I think….” etc. Therefore, complaining is rooted in one’s concern for him or herself and is therefore amenable to entering a person onto the slippery slope of egoism or narcissism. Complaining has been described as deadly poison by our scholars for this reason. The more we see ourselves, the less we see Allah. Conversely,… Read More - All notes


Imam Zaid Shakir


Posted on 2016-04-28

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thumbnail A Poetic Reflection On The Life of Muhammad Ali Part One: Ali the Fighter He floated like a butterfly and stung like a bee, the greatest fighter the world has yet to see. On one thing his opponents agree, they all got it right; in the ring with Ali your life was in danger that night. Had he lived in the time of Marciano, Joe Louis, or Max Schmeling, his superiority over all of the former would be telling. Had he fought Tyson or Holyfield at the height of his career, on the list of heavyweight champions their… Read More - All notes


Imam Zaid Shakir


Posted on 2016-04-22

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thumbnail ISIS is squarely situated in the realm of modern utopian movements that are doomed to fail. The defining feature of these movements is captured by the British political philosopher, John Gray, when he says: “The use of inhumane methods to achieve impossible ends is the essence of revolutionary utopianism.” In resorting to systematic terror to achieve its ends, ISIS is not alone, nor can it be considered the most notorious member of the macabre club it has joined. As Gray mentions elsewhere, “Nineteenth-century anarchists such as Nechayev and Bakunin, the Bolsheviks Lenin and Trotsky, anti-colonial thinkers such as Frantz… Read More - All notes


Imam Zaid Shakir


Posted on 2016-03-25

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thumbnail The recent atrocious, barbaric, condemnable, despicable attacks in Brussels should move every Muslim to swift, unqualified condemnation. Why? Because as Muslims we are taught that murder is wrong. We are taught that suicide is wrong. We are taught that retaliating against unsuspecting innocent people for real or perceived injustices is wrong. We are taught that violating the sanctity of public space is wrong. These things are all unconditionally wrong, and I unequivocally condemn them. Attributing these crimes to Islam is also wrong. Dead wrong. Our Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah upon him) informed us, “No one of you… Read More - All articles


Imam Zaid Shakir


Posted on 2016-03-18

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thumbnail The word أخ or “Akh” means male sibling from the same mother. أخواء or آخوان –> share common goals. أخت or “Ukht” means female sibling from the same mother, plural أخوات. We are all brothers and sisters in the pursuit of a common goal.   - The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) emphasized brotherhood in the community.   - There’s nothing wrong with greeting people in their own way. The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon     him) did not cut off his ties with pagans.   - We’re all Children of Adam.… Read More - All notes


Imam Zaid Shakir


Posted on 2016-03-16

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thumbnail As racism, xenophobia, anti-Muslim bigotry, nativism, hatred and violence escalate in our society many are asking, “What is to be done?” To begin, we have to understand that these issues did not begin yesterday or with the emergence of a particular political figure. They are problems that to greater or lesser extents have defined this country. They are transgenerational realities. How do we push back? By rejecting them ourselves and joining the legions of others who realize that we cannot move meaningfully into the future carrying the putrid, ever weightier baggage of the past. When you make up your mind… Read More - All notes


Imam Zaid Shakir


Posted on 2016-03-15

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thumbnail Nearly a month has passed since the execution-style murder of three young men, two of them Muslim, in Fort Wayne, Indiana. We have to keep the memory Taha Omar, Adam Mekki and Mohannad Tairab alive and continue to pressure the authorities for answers. I am consciously writing these lines after this “story” has left the news-cycle. Our concern should not be a reflection of editorial decisions, rather, our human concern. Unfortunately, far too many murders of black folks, poor folks or immigrants go unresolved in this country. These three youths, who met such a tragic demise, fit into each category.… Read More - All notes


Imam Zaid Shakir


Posted on 2016-03-07

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thumbnail Published by Imam Zaid Shakir The following students, representing Zaytuna College, The Graduate Theological Union and UC Berkeley, came together to sign and Covenant of Compassion, drafted by our student, Yusuf Seyal. Here is the text of the Covenant: “Today, the third of March, two-thousand and sixteen, marks the rise of a new dawn on Holy Hill, an ecumenical consortium of faith based institutions, uniting students of the Graduate Theological Union, UC Berkeley and Zaytuna College to stand together for universal peace. We, the signatories, believe that communal compassion is created by conscious cooperative efforts that seek… Read More - All news


Bike Lanes

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Imam Zaid Shakir


Posted on 2016-02-22

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thumbnail Black folks ride bikes to work and ride bikes for fun, Some are faster than an ice cube melting in the sun, Some can break the sound barrier: Brother Super Sonic! So why are black folks and bike lanes so oxymoronic? If brothers can ride in summer heat and through the winter rain… Why can’t black folks get bike lanes? When the neighborhood starts to witness gentrification, Blacks folks get moved out beyond the furthest transit station. The gangs disappear and the bullets stop flyin’. The cops step up patrols and the… Read More - All notes


Imam Zaid Shakir


Posted on 2016-02-15

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thumbnail American warplanes on their way to bomb ISIS targets fly over Syrian helicopters dropping barrel bombs on civilians in Aleppo. Russian warplanes on their way to bomb anti-Assad forces in and around Aleppo, killing a large number of civilians in the process, fly next to American warplanes. Now, there are reports that Saudi Arabia is sending warplanes to Turkey to bomb ISIS targets in Syria. Maybe they ran out of targets in Yemen. This leads me to ask the following question: If all of the madness happening in the Middle East is the result of a dastardly Iranian-hatched conspiracy, as… Read More - All notes


Imam Zaid Shakir


Posted on 2016-02-09

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thumbnail “Good and evil are not equal. Respond [to evil] with what is best, [good]. You will unexpectedly see one between whom you and he there is enmity become as it were an intimate friend.” Qur’an 41:34 Recently, a young man, who did not identify himself, approached me and mournfully informed me that he used to be a Muslim. He had been attracted to Islam by its message of brotherhood, human concern, social justice, spiritual refinement and its ability to coexist with other faiths throughout its long history. Then, shortly after taking his Shahadah (Declaration of Faith), he was approached by… Read More - All notes


Morning Light

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Imam Zaid Shakir


Posted on 2016-01-28

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thumbnail Morning light As the birds take flight. Oakland Marina; Enter the arena, To fight for the right Of every man, woman And child To be able to smile As the retreating night Is overwhelmed… By the morning light.   Read More - All notes


Imam Zaid Shakir


Posted on 2016-01-25

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thumbnail The deepening scandal and crisis in Flint, Michigan, over the contaminated water forced upon the residents of that city provides an insight into where the entire country is headed. The destruction of Flint, epitomized by th water crisis, is a direct result of what happens when democratic processes are circumvented and a city is run like a business. The state appointed city manager, Darnell Early, a non-elected official, was brought in to run Flint like a business. Changing the city’s water source to the polluted and contaminated Flint River was done for one of two reasons, both of which… Read More - All notes


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