Imam Zaid Shakir


Posted on 2013-07-13

13 Comments

In his, Dictionary of Political Thought, the noted political philosopher, Roger Scruton, defines a coup d’etat as follows: [A coup d’etat is] a change in government by force resulting in a change of constitution, and brought about by those who already hold some form of power whether military or political. The institution of a coup thereby transforms the terms on which their office is held from a public trust into a private possession. We start with this definition to spare anyone the need for debating whether what transpired in Egypt was a coup d’etat or not. By any… Read More


American Islam

  articles

Imam Zaid Shakir


Posted on 2012-03-18

13 Comments

In what’s become major news and a source of national outrage, thanks to months of reporting by the Associated Press, the New York Police Department has spent years investigating American Muslims throughout the Northeast. Of particular concern is an “NYPD Secret” document dating from November 2006; titled “Weekly MSA Report,” the document was created by Mahmood Ahmad of the NYPD’s Cyber Intelligence Unit, who as “a daily routine” visited the Web sites, blogs, and forums of Muslim Student Associations at the State University of New York at Buffalo, New York University, the Rutgers Newark campus, and, less frequently, similar sites… Read More


The Best of Women

  articles

Imam Zaid Shakir


Posted on 2012-03-04

17 Comments

March 8, 2012 has been designated as International Women’s Day. The day has been set aside to celebrate the social, economic and political accomplishments of women. March is a most appropriate month for such a celebration. In the Northern Hemisphere, March signals the arrival of spring and the blossoming flowers whose colors and fragrances announce the rebirth of the land. Women, like the flowers of spring, adorn our lives and have been chosen by Almighty God to deliver into the world the young souls whose presence marks the regeneration of our human family. Usually, when western Muslims speak of women… Read More


Imam Zaid Shakir


Posted on 2012-01-17

7 Comments

This essay is based on a lecture given by Imam Zaid at the Reviving the Islamic Spirit Conference, December 2011. Hopefully, it will provide some food for thought as we begin the arduous process of rethinking many of the fundamental ideas and institutions that developed during an age that is rapidly drawing to a close. As that age expires, many of the the ideas accompanying it must be allowed to expire with it. If we attempt to cling dogmatically to outmoded ideas and institutions, we are only delaying their inevitable demise and handicapping the ability of coming generations to build… Read More


On Heroism

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Imam Zaid Shakir


Posted on 2011-09-12

17 Comments

The following is a slightly modified version of a speech delivered by Imam Zaid Shakir at the United for Change conference in Washington DC, September 10, 2011.  Character is refined and shaped by the challenges we have to contend with. As we overcome challenges our character is enriched. This lesson was articulately emphasized in a letter written by Abigail Adams to her then twelve-year-old son and future president, John Quincy Adams. The younger Adams was accompanying his father, John Adams, who had been sent to Paris to serve as the first American ambassador to France. John Adams, himself, would… Read More


Imam Zaid Shakir


Posted on 2011-08-16

4 Comments

United for Change was created to galvanize the Muslim leadership in North America to take on issues that are too large for any one individual leader, organization or group to effectively address. In our first two conferences we have called attention to the issue of Malaria in Africa and practical steps needed to preserve the integrity of the family. This year marks ten years since the attacks of September 11, 2001. It also marks the beginning of what promises to be a hard fought presidential election. These issues combine to point towards Islam and Muslims once again being in the… Read More


Imam Zaid Shakir


Posted on 2011-06-14

8 Comments

The following essay was written as the introduction to a book by Habeeb and Sa’ad Qadri, two Chicago-based youth activists, entitled, The War Within Our Hearts. It contains valuable information into the nature of our hearts and the means to their purification. It also has some advice that may prove useful to younger Muslims. Hence, we are reprinting it here. “Verily, they were youth who believed in their Lord and we increased them in guidance. And we strengthened their hearts when they took a stand, saying: “Our Lord is the Lord of the Heavens and the… Read More


Imam Zaid Shakir


Posted on 2011-04-18

16 Comments

Introduction The nation-state, which involves wedding a specific people to a sovereign territorial entity, is a modern phenomenon. For example, the unity of the Italian city-states into a coherent modern nation-state did not occur until the late 1850s. The unification of Germany under Prussia did not occur until 1871. Even though there were many French kingdoms, and even a French empire under Napoleon, it could be argued that the emergence of France as a viable, modern nation-state did not occur before Jules Ferry established universal public education during the 19th Century. Outside of Europe, excluding European settler states such as… Read More


Imam Zaid Shakir


Posted on 2011-04-05

8 Comments

As revolutions and uprisings sweep the Middle East from Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Yemen and elsewhere most Muslims everywhere are energized by a wave of hopeful change in a region that has suffered far too long under the stultifying rule of “presidents for life.” However, some Muslims are more hesitant and view the waves of protests as unsanctioned rebellions against legitimate rulers. To begin to analyze the current situation in the Middle East and North Africa, each of the movements in the various affected countries would have to be assessed on a case by case basis. Conditions in each country… Read More


Imam Zaid Shakir


Posted on 2011-03-24

66 Comments

Some days before the U.S.-led intervention in Libya began; I was forwarded a copy of an open letter directed to President Barack Obama urging him to work in concert with U.S. allies, NATO, and the United Nations to immediately impose a no-fly zone over Libya. The organizers, a group of courageous individuals risking their lives to assist the rebel cause, were collecting the signatures of scholars and academics from the around the world, especially those studying Islam and the Middle East. After considerable deliberation, I decided not to add my signature to the letter because I could not lend my… Read More


Bravo Egypt!

  articles

Imam Zaid Shakir


Posted on 2011-02-11

16 Comments

The Egyptian people have accomplished one of the major objectives of their historic revolution. They have brought the thirty-year reign of Hosni Mubarak to an end. As they celebrate, from Alexandria in the north down to Aswan in the south, they realize that this is only the beginning of the long and arduous march to a free and open system that will guarantee their dignity and fundamental rights. However, every journey has a beginning and this glorious beginning is a harbinger of a glorious end. As the great Egyptian sage, Ibn ‘Ata Allah Sankadari, mentioned, “An illuminated beginning is a… Read More


Imam Zaid Shakir


Posted on 2011-02-03

6 Comments

We Hold These Truths to be Self-Evident… A well-meaning friend of mine has suggested that if I write anything else on the ongoing uprising in Egypt, I should frame it in terms understandable to Americans. After all, we should be aiming to affect American public opinion as much as possible since Mubarak is an instrument of American policy in the region. This is a reasonable suggestion. I could think of no better way to respond to it than in the words of the American Declaration of Independence. We read in that venerable, yet neglected document: We hold these truths to… Read More


Imam Zaid Shakir


Posted on 2011-01-20

16 Comments

The following questions have been sent to me from numerous individuals in response to my rant entitled, “Letter to a Would-be Mujahid.” Hopefully, these responses, some of which are quite lengthy will help clarify issues that are causing a lot of confusion for many of our young brothers and sisters. Question: Your nonviolence will deny Muslims the right to defend their homelands and repulse invaders. Answer: I definitely advocate nonviolence for Muslims living in the pluralistic societies of the West. This is a fundamental Islamic responsibility. However, Muslims in Muslim majority countries have every right to defend their lands, resources,… Read More


Imam Zaid Shakir


Posted on 2010-11-02

12 Comments

(Reprinted) This essay, written in the immediate aftermath of the failed New York City bomb attempt [1], will examine some of the theological implications of Muslims violating civilian immunity. I have written elsewhere why attacks against innocent civilians are in opposition to fundamental teachings of Islam. Unfortunately, there are some Muslim ideologues that sanction such actions and a growing number of Muslim civilians and noncombatants are being killed by their coreligionists, in Iraq, Afghanistan [2], and elsewhere. For these reasons, the argument that follows is more than merely hypothetical. This article is being reprinted in the aftermath of an… Read More


Imam Zaid Shakir


Posted on 2010-10-10

17 Comments

“If a tree fell in the middle of the forest and no one was there to witness it, did it fall?”             Although Muslims have been silent when it comes to telling our own story and articulating who we are as a people and the contributions we have made to this country, we are not silent when it comes to condemning criminal acts that are perpetrated by Muslims. Yet one of the fundamental talking points of the anti-Muslim bigots is that Muslims never speak up to condemn violence that is attributed to… Read More


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