In the Name of God بسم الله
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Assalamu Alaykum! This post might be a tad convoluted, for that I’m sorry, but circumstances and influences can be a bit hard to explain, so thank you for bearing with me. I want to partake in more religious community events due to the barakah that I may be able to accumulate and fundamentally provide my heart an outlet to express my love for our religion and specifically the ahl-ul bayt. I know I’m not alone in this, but it certainly feels like I’m starting from scratch to find a solution for this. Obviously, first by asking Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى) for guidance on this matter, but in what I’m beginning to do now, which is to communicate to others about this. And I think this matter may increase rapidly and I want to make sure I have a network and plan when it does. I’ve been attending the mosque with regularity (ahlul sunnah establishment and the only mosque in our city). When I first reverted in 2006, this is the kinda brothers I started around, so I feel like I understand them. At the same time, I love so many of the aspects and disciplines and schools of thought so much, in my conception of community, I would NEVER want to do or say anything that would make another believer in Allah and His Messenger to feel sad, rejected, or turned away. Consequently, I don’t want anything to attract the ire of a community who’s articles of formation clearly stated they are not here for me. However, in my faith, my responsibility it to Allah, I WILL BE ASKED! Many things in this world will testify with me or against me and I want to be sure I’m accumulating the right things even if I don’t live where the shia have populated in larger numbers. (Of course, I’m looking at addressing this on a larger scale as well, if you have any recommendations on that, please share!) Now, a portion of my background lies in managing, repairing, and assisting in libraries and law libraries. So, naturally, when I saw the book holdings at the mosque, and that some of the books are hard to get and behind glass (I actually cut myself on one), I prayed and had a profound proclivity to just step up and help with this. Which, actually, I’m somewhat embarrassed that a building which claims to be a mosque would allow to lapse the management of the source of our knowledge, books! I want to be the change I want to see in my community. This is my mission. This past Sunday, when helping to tidy up, I had noticed many books (All shia texts) were piled up and placed in bags. They were not given the good graces of being retained on a dirty and unkept bookshelf. (Bro, like, fr, I found a doc in one of the books from over 10 years ago. A fundamental text. I thought, “Man, has THIS book not been picked up in 10 years???) Anyway, back to these Shia books, I’m looking through them (most I already have) and I notice that an inscription is written in a few of the books as being from Az-Zahara Mosque (The nearest shia mosque over 100 miles away). I’ve made multiple attempts to go by the Az-Zahara Mosque by the way. Last time I was there the mailbox was lying on the ground and gates locked. But, then, here it was, this was the proof of life that other shia exist within some sort of radius and they’re fundamentally trying to build communication with the mosque in my city. I don’t want to rock the boat, but I know they don’t want these books in there. I’m also trying to find shia brothers to invite them to form our own gatherings. I certainly do not feel as though it would be blameable on me to take the shia texts for safeguard and safekeeping (because I’ve witnessed in the past first-hand these wahabis destroy our books). However, is it? Is my influence outside involvement? Am I wrong if I take the community books for safekeeping even if they are not being respected and given place on the shelf? I know it can seem like such a small thing, but the implications are certainly meaningful. I mean, certainly, Allah is the Best of Guides, if it is meant for these books to be disrespected, disregarded, degraded, then no amount of “safekeeping” means anything. At the same time, I don’t want to place them on the shelf and cause issue or “flag” myself as “one of those brothers”. But I also don’t want the bear the responsibility of being a flippin coward because they’re bringing harm to texts that contain wisdom that has saved my very life! AND THIS IS AMERICA!!! Not to be pegged as some patriot, I’m certainly not, I’m a native whos people have beared the brunt of corrupt federal policy. But, my point is I find it hard to sit still when they take religion from the companions, but religion from the Holy family (RDSC) are placed in bags. It’s like, yeah, I’m free to practice my religion, but I’m not free to practice my religion HERE. If they put our books in bags, what do you think would happen if I showed up with a turbah and prayed with my hands at my sides??? In retrospect, I don’t fully know what I’m trying to get out of this post. In a certain respect, I’m just venting because I don’t feel like I have any brothers around me and that hurts. I want some place to go to recite the Quran. I want to go someplace where we can engage in conversations about hadith. Where remembering Ashura would be accepted; where the words of Islamic scholars are valued; their works given proper space and attention; where community mentors who specialize in Islamic and worldly science can be contacted for consultation. Till then, I’m just going to keep working on myself to be the change I want to see. I welcome feedback, guidance, and things to reflect upon. May Allah hasten the return of Imam Mahdi (RDSC) and may Justice be spread!
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