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.



Rehmatullah Mir, middle, reacts to hearing the election results at the Islamic Center of Tucson. With 261, he was the top vote-getter. (Amer Taleb)

By Rehmatullah Mir (From his introductory speech)
10. If you think experience does not count from involvement in the Islamic Center of Tucson for the past 33 years, do not vote for me.

9. If you think construction projects should be done without consulting the community, including your Tucson artists, do not vote for me.

8. If you think only one person from the BOT should represent your entire community at outreach or interfaith events, do not vote for me.

7. If you think experience with converts for the past several years has no meaning, do not vote for me.

6. If you think only coming to the Islamic Center to register as a member and vote in their BOT and EC elections is the only way to go, do not vote for me.

5. If you think only doctors or engineers or business people are more qualified to serve on the BOT for your diverse community, do not vote for me.

4. If you think progress and important decisions for your community will be accomplished only through BOT meetings by emails, Facebook, or tweeting, do not vote for me.

3. If you think we do not need social services such as family counseling or daw‘ah through prison programs, do not vote for me.

2. If you think the color of my skin, my origin of birth, or my mother tongue, makes me better than others to serve your community, do not vote for me.

And the number one reason why you should not vote for me is…..

1. If you believe the rumors that a ‘secret group’ is taking over the Islamic Center, do not vote for me.

Finally, the bonus reason why you should not vote for me is….

If you think it’s okay to leave the masjid while the adhan or the iqamma is being called, then find someone else and do me a favor, do not vote for me.

Best Customer Service Ever!

By Amer Taleb

I unwrap the Snickers bar I bought from a University of Arizona vending machine, bite it and almost shatter my teeth. Within 30 seconds, I was on the phone complaining.

The manager for the vending machine company, Tomdra, was cool and even though he told me he’d send someone to change the food in the machine, I didn’t believe him. I told him how thankful I was for his time (I lied) and then hung up. Yesterday I was a pissed off customer, but today, I feel like putting a gazillion dollars into that Tomdra machine. Check out what the company left me at the front desk of my job.

Snickers AND reimbursement!!!

Customer service like that makes me want to quit journalism and work for a vending machine company. Well..er..not really, but I did appreciate the gesture. Mad respect to Tomdra, you guys are awesome.

So how were the Snickers, you ask? Amazing.

Technology In The ICT

Editor’s Note: Hasan Taleb won the Weekend School’s essay competition that asked students to write about the status of technology in the Islamic Center of Tucson. He’s also my brother. Please remember: Hasan’s essay was chosen by a Weekend School teacher, NOT me.

Illustration by Amer Taleb

By Hasan Taleb

     Over the years the Islamic Center of Tucson has had, and Insha Allah (God willing) will continue to have, technology in the classroom and all over the masjid (mosque).  From tablets to projectors, technology in the ICT has revolutionized the way we learn and think.

     Listening to Quran on an electronic device or watching a video on a projector enhances the learning experience in the classroom. Just walking into the masjid you find announcements on the LCD screen. Another form of technology the ICT uses is their website and the Weekend School page. Without technology the masjid we all know and love just wouldn’t be the same.

     Microphones are also a big part of the technology we use and from the Friday khutba (sermon) to a Weekend School administrator talking to the kids, they play a big part in helping the public hear what others have to say.

     Now, what’s my opinion on how ICT technology could be better? I think in the Weekend School classroom could use technology a little more. We all know that listening to Quran or watching a video on a projector is much better than listening to a teacher talk the whole time. But of course there has to be a verbal lesson here and there. Another good improvement would be a technology day where all lessons would be given by using technology.

     Overall, the ICT is at a good pace with its technology usage, but there’s still a lot of room for improvement. So this article comes to an end, but Insha Allah the state of technology in ICT will continuously improve.

Al-Estighfar, Seeking Allah’s Forgiveness

Muslims prostrate during Friday Prayer at the Islamic Center of Tucson. (Amer Taleb)

By Ezadeen Naji

            Many Muslims these days are unaware of the benefits of making “Estighfar”, an Arabic term that refers to seeking Allah’s Forgiveness. The Quran states frequently and clearly that if you want to:

  • Enjoy your life

“(3)And (commanding you): “Seek the forgiveness of your Lord, and turn to Him in repentance, that He may grant you good enjoyment, for a term appointed, and bestow His abounding Grace to every owner of grace..” (Hud 11:3)

  • Have strength and health

“(52)And O my people! Ask forgiveness of your Lord and then repent to Him, He will send you (from the sky) abundant rain, and add strength to your strength, so do not turn away as Mujrimûn (criminals, disbelievers in the Oneness of Allâh).” (Hud 11:52)

  • Be safe from the punishment of Allah

(33)And Allah would not punish them while you (Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم) are amongst them, nor will He punish them while they seek (Allah’s) Forgiveness” (Al-Anfal 8:33)

  • Be wealthy, have children and more

“(10) I said (to them): Ask forgiveness from your Lord; Verily, He is Oft-Forgiving;(11) He will send rain to you in abundance(12) And give you increase in wealth and children, and bestow on you gardens and bestow on you rivers.” (Nuh, 71:10-12)

We don’t have the Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him with us any more, but we do have his Sunna (life examples) and we can still seek Allah’s Forgiveness. Therefore, don’t delay in repeating these words: Astaghfiru Allah (استغفر الله) as you read this article, as you drive your car, as you chat on Facebook, as long as you can breathe.

As narrated in Sahih Al-Bukhari, the Prophet peace be upon him said that he seeks Allah’s Forgiveness and repents to Him more than 70 times a day! If the Prophet peace be upon him did that much of Estighfar, how much do we need?

Astaghfiru Allah…

Astaghfiru Allah…

Astaghfiru Allah…