Is it OK for an Imam to have a salary?

Is it OK for an Imam to have a salary?

One of the more contentious issues to discuss these days is religious figures receiving any form of remuneration for their services, services that are focused on what are considered “religious services.” Religious services may be very broadly thought of as anything from teaching religion, issuing religious rulings (fatwa), leading prayers, conducting marriages, counseling, and other services. A common retort to any form of remuneration is that there is no precedent for paying for anything “religious” usually coupled with a quote from the hadith narrated by al-Tirmidhi that the Prophet said “Do not take a Mu’adhdhin who takes a reward for his adhan.”

This post will not delve into the contextualizing the above hadith and other related texts. Instead it will remedy the first claim, and that is “there is no precedent for remunerating religious employment.” To do this, I quote several authoritative works in each of the four schools, Read more

Solace – How To Offer Condolences

Another post resurrected from Islamic Law, Etc. with some added subtitles and editing.

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Solace

Every phonecall cuts like a knife.

When you’ve lost a loved one, the last thing you want to do is answer the phone or be around someone, but then again the one thing you want most is some normality, so you pick up the phone and open the door. Clarity of mind is something sought after, not something to be expected at this time. Some people call you not knowing, and wonder why or how you can be so despondent or stand-offish to them. Others would call and say with the sensitivity of a schizophrenic “Sorry for your loss, but hey you know what can I say…” Silence from some may be safe, but not sound in the hurting heart. There are though those that actually console, ask real questions, make dua, and most importantly let you know they are there for you. Not that they are in fact physically there, but the sentiment and the short visits are what counts.

Pain subsides in the cool words of condolences, Read more

Congratulating each other at the commencement of Ramadan

Resurrected from the now defunct “Islamic Law, Etc.” blog, here is a post I made a long time ago about the permissibility of saying “Ramadan Mubarak.”

I felt there may be some benefit in it given Suhaib Webb’s recent article “Can We say Jumu’ah Mubarak” and some of the discussions surrounding it.

Enjoy.

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In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful.

“Ramadan Mubaarak”

Every year Muslims all over the world wait in eagerness for the coming of the month of Ramadan. Ramadan, the month in which every night Allah has designated people to be freed from the hellfire, the month in which there is a night better than one thousand months, whoever fasts it with faith and reflection then all of his past sins will be forgiven.

Because of the status of this month and its importance, many of us greet each other in excitement with phrases such as “Ramadan Mubaarak” , “Ramadan Kareem”, “Kullu ‘aam wa antum bi khair” anticipating the great blessings of this month and wishing them for others.

Yet these phrases and greetings, even though we use them frequently, do they have a basis in our religion? Meaning: is there a precedent which has been set for such greetings? Read more

An Open Letter to Atheist Muslims – or – Is The Quran A Violent Text Or Is Your Reading A Tad Off?

Dear Self Described Atheist Muslims,

Let’s start with what I am not going to do.

I am not going to accuse you of never knowing anything about Islam. Most of you have grown up in Muslim families, attended Muslim Sunday school, gone to Muslim summer camp, etc. You know the drill and the day to day of what many Muslims experience, especially in a communal sense. Also, I will not accuse you of being sympathetic to the bigotry and hatred projected towards Muslims. Despite your self-declared apostasy and atheism, I am sure that when you are in line in the airport, pulled over for a minor traffic violation, or opening an account at a bank, you are wholly identified as an “other” and your “Muslimy” name doesn’t help you in the least. I get it. You are still, like it or not, culturally tied to the community that you have identified with much of your life, Read more

Explainer: What was that “Muslim Prayer” KC Chiefs Husain Abdullah did after his touchdown?

“If I get a pick, I’m going to prostrate before God in the end zone,” Abdullah said. (1)

Husain-AbdullahHusain Abdullah, Kansas City Chiefs safety, intercepted Patriot’s Quarterback Tom Brady’s pass. Rushing 39 yards to the end zone, he dropped to his knees in what many media outlets called “a Muslim prayer.” Thought to be celebrating at first, Abdullah was yellow flagged for “excessive celebration.” This drew a 15-yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty, which was quickly retracted. Players routinely gesture, pray, and thank God after scoring. Tim Tebow, native of Jacksonville FL and former Denver Broncos quarterback, made prayer famous by praying on one knee after scoring; Tebowing quickly became an internet meme with thousands of imitators.

As evidence to Husain Abdullah’s gracious nature and refusal to play the victim, Read more

Shariah creeps onto the Washington Post (I keed)

A blog I read frequently, the Volokh Conspiracy (Eugene Volokh et al’s popular legal blog) has now moved to the Washington Post.

Volokh has serialized his article entitled “Religious Law (Especially Islamic Law) in American Courts, 66 Okla. L. Rev. 431 (2014)” for readers this week, which touches on broad aspects related to the compatibility between Islamic law and American law.

Reading this (generally very good) article, my first thought was that despite the author’s attempt to substantiate all his claims, some of them are still based on preconceived notions of what Shariah is without consideration for context and legal nuance. This to me means the door for more research and writing in the field.

My second thought was there is still a conflation of national laws and cultures with normative Islamic law by both Muslims and non-Muslims.

In the broadest sense possible, I touched on many of these topics in 2010 at a lecture hosted at Texas A&M University. You can watch it here: