Nombre’ de Ala’ el Compasivo el Misericordioso
Al-hamdulilah, it has been part of our illustrious Islamic history to send
messengers to different lands to spread the teachings of Al Islam. But for
converts to spread the message in their land of choice it’s only the beginning
of there Islamic duty!
As Hispanic Americans it is our belief that we should utilize our gift of a
second language to teach our brethren right here in the USA our adopted
homeland. And with that in mind I come humbly before you to present this paper
on how da’wah has developed and it’s future in America.
As Br. Muhammad Abdul Khabeer will testify Islam was brought to the Americas
with the New World. On board Christopher Columbus’ ship were the Astrolabe and
the Muslim who could work it. For without it, Columbus would have never reached
the New World.
Prior to that, the Muslims of Andalucia had enjoyed a rich and glorious history
in Muslim Spain for over 700 years. Bringing science and Islam at the forefront
of their lives. They breathed Islam in their architecture and rich culture.
Their intermarriages and adoption of the “new faith” brought unity rather than
segregation for hundreds of years. For the Muslims allowed synagogues and
churches to be built and allowed citizens to worship God the Almighty so long as
they paid taxes to the Muslims. Our Hispanic roots were merged permanently with
the prosperous Islamic culture. I can almost see my Puerto Rican late
grandmother turn to me as I said:
? “Bendicion abuelita? ” (Blessings Grandma?) and her response was
? “Que Dios te bendiga” (May God bless you) where upon I would respond
? “Te veo el proximo sabado” (See you next week) and she would say
? “Si Dios Quiere” Another words, “Inshallah”.
So we also brought that aspect of our daily lives to the new world as her
parents were from Spain. Dr. Thomas Ballentine Irving the leading authority on
Muslim Spain once gave me as a gift, pages of Andalucian recipes. It had no pork
products, which are so common in Spanish cooking today. Inshallah this books
printing is a project that we hope to promote among our jummaat.
When the Muslims were expelled from Spain many of them left as Mude’jar
Artisans. Once they arrived in the New World and Latin America they built
churches with Islamic architecture and beautiful lines and fountains. Our lives
were so intertwined that we could hardly distinguish one from the other. So that
today when da’wah is given to a Christian it is so much easier for them to
accept it. I also believe that the mere fact that a Hispanic is giving the
da’wah assists greatly for it is more of a natural move and inclination to the
faith. I use to wonder why during Malcolm X ‘s period many more Hispanics were
not invited to Islam. But now I sigh with a great relief for that.
We are a nation of mostly pious people who took religion seriously throughout
history. Whether via Andalucia or the Crusades or the Conquistadors it was
always a deep commitment to a higher truth.
In New York City I found a Puerto Rican family who taught their children Islam
as babies and now they can be joyful that they have Hafiz and upright Muslims.
One of the main reasons we come is for the security it brings our family life
and the love it fosters between our children and even our non-Muslim extended
family. Br. Mustafa was known for standing across the street from the big
churches with a table full of literature and invite congregates to learn about
Al –Islam. In Ohio we have Aisha Moreno of Ecuadorian decent who once asked me
how could she do da’wah if she was mostly home. And I told her that if she were
sincere they would knock at her door. She has since been teaching from her home
and has weekly halaqahs in Spanish and English. In Miami we had 5 shahadahs in
one weekend! All over the country masses of Hispanics have found inner peace in
a faith that is akin to their own culture.
PIEDAD was very active in NYC where we began our work in 1987. Our first seminar
was at a club where we brought food and invited our extended non -Muslim family.
The founders of PIEDAD were not all-Spanish speaking; in fact we had a Kashmiri
sister and a Pakistani who understood the importance of da’wah to Latinos.
Although we are known for our numerous seminars with speakers like: Iman Siraj
Wahaj, Mohammed Nasim, Dr. Thomas Irving, Dr Omar Kasule and others, truth is it
was never as productive as our One on One da’wah. It was this personalization of
the deen that assisted us. Here we could speak freely and clearly use the dua’
that releases our tongue so that we may be understood.
I remember the day I met Br Yasin he was 17 years old and he wanted to go to
Afghanistan. His family did not allow him and he wanted us to convince them.
Well that was his objective but that is not what happened. His elder parents
were afraid of his new religion and felt is was pure fanaticism, which could get
their son killed. We spent what seemed to be hours trying to explain to this
humble couple the virtues of Islam. Whereas they complained about their son and
how he took down their portraits from the wall and the infamous Christmas tree
in all it’s glory. Oh yes, they believed he was totally crazy. Why he didn’t
even eat! We asked him if perhaps he was eating at night and explained what
fasting was. “Oh yes” answered his father.” He is like a little mouse and eats
when we are in bed.” Al Hamdulilah it was clear to us this brother was in the
deen. At this point we stopped and really listened to them. They needed their
son home and needed to see the difference between Yasin now and then. We asked
them what Yasin was doing before he committed to Islam.
“ Oh the father said ” I was getting him out of jail constantly, h e was
stealing hubcaps and getting drunk.”
“Oh no.”, with realization in his breath, ” not now! ”.
That day Yasin’s father converted to Al Islam during Jumaah. Shortly after his
nieces and his mother also converted. That is the miracle of Islam. It is as
beautiful as it is wondrous.
Certainly, da’wah to any specific group is enriching but also involves lots of
frustration as well as time. PIEDAD began as da’wah directed to the overlooked
Hispanic women in NYC. And has continued it’s specialization to that intimate
group without keeping others from assistance and participation. Working with
women was especially rewarding because we come from the same place. Our first
step has always been to form sincere and deep friendships that allow mistakes
and are non judgmental. Secondly, to teach only what we are sure is correct and
for deeper questions always have a sheikh or imam available for advice. Third,
and most important to assure the new Muslimah that Islam is for everyone and
that we are not to separate ourselves from any other Muslims as “only Hispanic
Muslims”. And last but not least, to seek Islamic knowledge for the rest of
their lives and never be satisfied with their comprehension but to have the
thirst of learning in their hearts solely for the pleasure of Almighty Allah swt.
After a sister learns to make salat and has an elementary understanding of Islam
she is directed to the nearest Islamic center to continue her studies and
referred to books that she can study to further her knowledge. If a sister
wishes to go further in order to serve Allah swt she may want to join us in
da’wah and for that we do Daiyett training. Which are basically a continuation
of their studies in Islam and the practice of the deen in the service of Allah
swt. As we did in Houston Texas with Br. Hussein Shuote and Sr. Aisha Mohammad
of NYC several years ago.
It should noted that our specific outreach must often take on a more nurturing
role in da’wah, as in the case of young Yasin and the impact of Islam on his
family. Also, where single women come to PIEDAD whether young or old there is an
urgency to learn their roles as Muslimahs in a household. The precious
upbringing of our next generation as well as the shura needed to maintain a good
Islamic marriage is at stake. Often we must seek help from the Islamic community
to give a support network for these women. Al hamdulilah PIEDAD has outstanding
sheikhs and imam’s assisting us 24/7.
This paper is to be used to understand the need of da’wah to Hispanics due to
their history and
For the development of the Hispanic community I have purposely outlined a Wish
List of goals we are setting for our enrichment and progress. We hope that you
will assist in its general development and generate a discussion so that we may
improve in our da’wah direction.
Our wish list for Da’wah in the USA
? Funding for Da’wah groups to assist them in their challenging work. And to
allow them to work full time in their outreach efforts. Also to pay for postage
and offices expenses. (Even the most modest home office has expenses.)
? Scholarships-Network with International organizations to assist pious and
bright brothers to be trained as Spanish speaking imams. And that they be
available to settle in Latin America with a modest living stipend.
? That Islamic Literature be translated in all levels and made available to
Da’wah groups without cost. And in this way keep our general expenses down.
? That the Latino Conferences be a vehicle to assist us in unification and
sharing of our strategies. And also to flow with communication to all
? That each group has access to an imam with Prior expertise in Da’wah to assist
in training of new Muslims and the da’wah process. And that Imam is given a
small stipend for their extra work. We will be calling on them at all hours of
the night and for many different types of problems and questions.
? That we have access to organizations who can fund at least one or two sisters
per year who have need for Hajj, either due to illness, lack of funds or strong
? That Video and Audio production of material to be produced to assist the new
Muslims in learning Quranic Arabic and Islam. This material must be available
for free to Correction facilities throughout the United States. In their quest
for economic security great numbers of our brothers and sisters are incarcerated
for breaking of immigration laws.
? That Shahadah Certificates should be available in Spanish and Arabic so that
the new converts may travel to complete their Hajj requirements.
? And finally and perhaps more importantly that the Big organizations understand
that even though we are smaller than they, our desire is nonetheless equal and