New Islamic Directions

By Imam Zaid Shakir

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Reflections on Black History Month

by Imam Zaid Shakir

Black History Month should be of interest to every Muslim, especially in America. It is estimated that upwards to 20% of the Africans enslaved in the Americas were Muslim. [1] In some areas, such as the coast of the Carolinas, Georgia, and parts of Virginia, the percentages of Muslims in… Read More

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Reflections on the Ummah/Nation-State Divide

by Imam Zaid Shakir

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… Read More

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On Heroism

by Imam Zaid Shakir

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… Read More

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United We Stand: One Nation, One Destiny

by Imam Zaid Shakir

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… Read More

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The War Within Our Hearts

by Imam Zaid Shakir

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… Read More

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Islam and the Question of Nationalism [1]

by Imam Zaid Shakir

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… Read More

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Reflections on The Islamic Legitimacy of the Muslim Uprisings (Expanded)

by Imam Zaid Shakir

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… Read More

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Why I Oppose the US-led Intervention in Libya

by Imam Zaid Shakir

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… Read More

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Bravo Egypt!

by Imam Zaid Shakir

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… Read More

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Reflections on the Situation in Egypt

by Imam Zaid Shakir

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… Read More

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Answers to “Would-be Mujahids”

by Imam Zaid Shakir

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.… Read More

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The Deeper Implications of Muslims Targeting Innocent Civilians

by Imam Zaid Shakir

(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… Read More

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A Tree Has Fallen in The Forest

by Imam Zaid Shakir

“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… Read More

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On Women: Known and Anonymous (Part One)

by Imam Zaid Shakir

American society has had a strange relationship with women. We pontificate about the importance of women’s rights and gender equality. Yet, to this day women still earn less than men doing comparable jobs. Nowhere is this glaring disparity more telling than in the financial managerial sector where women earn less… Read More

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Rallying of The Muhammadaic Forces

by Imam Zaid Shakir

I recently attended two major Muslim conferences where Christian fundamentalists were “protesting” against a Muslim presence in “Christian” America. In each instance, the demonstrators were shabbily-clad, apparently from the poorer elements of American society. Their faces were red with anger and their violent voices exuded rage. They stood in sharp… Read More

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Living The Qur’an

by Imam Zaid Shakir

During Ramadan we celebrate the Qur’an. This is fitting owing to the close association between the month of fasting and the Qur’an. Allah mentions in the Qur’an, The month of Ramadan in which the Qur’an was revealed (Q. 2: 185). Perhaps this association is connected to the fact that during… Read More