Opinion: Recommendations to Tucson’s Muslim leaders

Osamah Eljerdi, in black shirt and glasses, counts the results of the Islamic Center of Tucson’s 2012 board elections. 6 of the 7 people elected were new board members. (Amer Taleb)

By Ezadeen Naji

It’s an unfortunate truth that many Muslims, especially young men and women, don’t even know the basics of Islam. Being a doctor, engineer, journalist or anything that makes you active in society is highly encouraged in our religion, but we have to combine in it with religious knowledge as well. Otherwise, we’re highly susceptible to many things in society that are not permissible in Islam.

A friend of mine was very ashamed of himself as he told me why he doesn’t consistently pray. He said that he immigrated to the United States alone, and facing the Fit-an (trials) alone is challenging for him. Another friend of mine, as we were getting ready to pray together, didn’t know how to say the iqama (call to prayer) in the correct order. And yet another couldn’t make wudu(ablution) correctly. These weren’t children, they were men in their late twenties.

It’s our duty along with the leaders of this community to educate people about their religion. But first, we need to make everyone feel relevant and appreciated.

Bringing guest speakers in is a good start. People like Nouman Ali Khan or Yusuf Estes would greatly benefit the Muslims in Tucson. Quran memorization contests with prizes and teaching children about the stories of the Prophets would do the community a great deal of good as well.

Finally, it’s our responsibility along with our new leaders to seek change that pleases our Lord. I end my article by thanking the Almighty, and seeking His Forgiveness for myself, you and the Muslim community.


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