The Islamic Salon Becoming a Force

Posted: January 3, 2008 in Uncategorized

Ever since I suggested some weeks ago the idea of an Islamic Salon, many brothers and sisters have expressed a desire to initiate something like this in their own city. Here in Washington, D.C., the idea has taken hold of the people and has ignited a Muslim intellectual movement that is both robust and confident. African-American Muslims are finally beginning to think, speak, and act for themselves without apologies or any slavish reference to some shaykh somewhere.

One such group that I lead, THE MAJLIS, is meeting this weekend in the home of sister Bathsheba Philpott to discuss what lessons to take away from the movie The Great Debaters. This film, which celebrates the life of the mind and the rich intellectual tradition of African American people, will provide I’m sure some fertile ground for discussion and debate. So many themes were touched upon in the film; 1) Historically Black colleges and universities, 2) the power of out thinking your opponent, 3) the role of women in shaping ideas, 4) the history of “lynching” in America 5) Harlem Renaissance, 6) Blacks in the Communist Movement, and any number of other topics I’m sure I’ve missed.

In truth, I have never seen anything like this new awakening in the Blackamerican Muslim community. It is gratifying to see this process of maturity taking place, a trend we hope will continue (inshallah). As the day of the discussion nears my phone is ringing off the hook, and it is at the point where some are going to be turned away. Hopefully I’ll be able to get some pictures up, but I can’t promise.

By the way, currently I am working on another historical piece which explains how we came up with the I’m just a Muslim, self-abasing madness. This will drop in a day or two (inshallah). Please be patient, it will be worth it.

  1. Kwame Madden says:

    Brother I’m loving hearing about this new awakening and hopefully this will take place around the country. The overseas euphoria of “I can’t solve any of my problems with out calling thousands of miles away or sending a e-mail” is hopefully coming to an end amongst those of who took the chains off our minds many years ago. I guess what I’m trying to say we saw through the brainwashing and volunteer slave syndrome.

    Abdul Rahman I remember in 1999 in Philadelphia, Pa. you were trying to tell some of the students of knowledge to keep their minds open and try to be balanced. At that time these brothers were infatuated with Saudi Arabian culture and mindset. They refused to properly access the surroundings that they came back to. They also failed to address issues pertaining to the communities in which their masjid were located and were they were resident Imams. The only talk was who is “on the haqq and who is not”. Those days look like they’re far behind us now as this new renaissance takes place.

    May Allah protect those who lead this renaissance and guide them to always stick to Book of Allah and Sunnah of his Messenger{peace be upon him]. My salams.

  2. Musa abdur rahman says:

    i feel like the brother kwame madden we need to just stick to Allah’s Book and the sun nah of the prophet P.B W.H. that’s all we need here in the America the shaykhs have there own problem’s.
    but i do believe that it was all by designed they new exactly what
    this salafi thing would do to the black amrikee in this country the
    brother’s who came into the Deen doing the early 60’s we were strong and these people saw that we were strong and the unity among the brotherhood was strong and sisterhood was strong.
    it was so strong that the prince of sudia arabia came and took a
    look at us that’s how strong the brotherhood was.and i believe that
    when they made the move on us the black American brother’s.
    they had to put a stop to this movement that was growing all across
    this land so they hit us on a lot of front’s to weaken the love we had
    for the Deen and still have for it. these people new that they had to do something so they thew the salafi thing on us to control the power
    and love that we black American have for the Deen of ALLAH.
    the old movement we came out of ,there was know compromising .
    and back then the shaykh’s we new told us that we should lead hour
    self’s ,they new that they could not lead us over here even back then, by the way it was 1972 when the prince came to see what was these rag tag brother’s from the street’s of new york was thinking about, and once they peep it the unity and the movement, they made there move i guess they said we could never let unity come to
    these Muslim over here so these people plan this for a long time
    back doing the early 70’s how to disrupt a strong brotherhood.
    they did not want us to build anything just to control us from over
    there in Saudi .most of us hour father’s did not leave us with any thing
    i remember my father use to say when a white man die he leave his kid’s money gold silver and when a black man die he leave his kid’s
    nothing except sigh’s like don’t walk under that ladder or don’t let that black cat cross your path,we have to build for hour kid’s we must
    build the unity among the the brotherhood and kick that salafi thing
    to one side and build for hour kid’s the time is now the salafi brother’s are not builder’s ALLAHsave us all.

  3. gess says:

    Taking aspiration from a hollywood film?

    Ohhhh pleaiseseeeeeeee!

  4. Abdur-Rahman M says:


    Did you mean “inspiration”? Thats ok if you don’t understand what we’re doing, there is no way you could. I just wish you were a little more humble in critcizing what you don’t understand.

  5. muslimfirst says:

    Gess, you can take the good people do as an example, whether in a movie or anywhere. After all are imitates life does it not?

  6. kameelah says:

    Gess, that’s a shame. We should be in the habit of supporting other Muslims initiatives, especially ones that are clearly positive and take an integrated approach to the intellectual+cultural+spiritual growth of Muslims. Anyhoo, I am not going to dwell on the unnecessary negativity and give the Islamic Salon effort a digital high-five. Wish I could be there for the discussion. Good luck! 🙂

    peas&blessing folks,

  7. Margari, Kameelah, & Muslimfirst,

    Thank you for your support. Perhaps we can come up with a way for all of you to join us (inshallah).

  8. BAK says:

    Assalamu alaykum, There will always be people who critisize a movement which they do not understand. What they should do is come and observe what is taking place, and if its not to their liking they are free to leave. Or if they find it to be contrary to the Principles of the Deen, they may then offer loving advice.

    There is nothing wrong with Muslim brothers and sisters having open dialog on community issues, whatever of the subject matter was that initially sparked it. The Majlis is an electrifying group of intellectuals (masha-Allah) who have started something which will bring Islam to real life situations. Everyone who talks about the Qur’an and the Sunnah exclusively of everthing else in life, can’t see the forest for the trees. The Qur’an and the Sunnah must be aplied in real life situations, and in order to know what that is you need groups like the Majlis to create these discussions, which stimulate intellectuals into talking about what is affecting the African American community. Here is something that the everyday Muslims can grab hold to in order to understand and apply their knowledge of the deen. I love the fact that Brothers go over seas seeking scholorship under the feet of the inheritors of the Prophet’s, But their knowledge is applied at times without wisdom, and sometimes it leads to dis-unity. I give 5 stars to the Islamic Salon and see this movement becoming stronger and more vibrant.

    Assalamu alaykum,

  9. gess says:

    Abdur-Rahman M & ALL

    Tell me what I don’t understand about racist Hollywood industry?

  10. Abdur-Rahman M says:


    Come on sister, I know you are sharper than that. What kind of reasoning is that. An industry as huge as the film industry ( Hollywood or otherwise) has absolutely no positive elements in it whatsoever? Dosn’t the entire “middle east” blame America for her foriegn policy when there are millions of us here, Muslim and non-Muslim, who oppose positions of our government. We have to be fair.

    Not only that Gess, but did you even see the film? With the disfunctinal culture that has developed in a terribly high percentage of the African American community, how could you disparage an effort which promotes literacy, discipline, intellectual engagement, social justice, racial uplift, and so many other positive themes. This film was produced by Oprah Winfrey and Denzel Washington, who for whatever else you want to say about them, are not “racist” against their own people.

    To swipe the brush that broadly is a kind of intellectual laziness, and even an injustice I think. What do you think?

  11. Musa abdur rahman says:

    to you BAK i think that you are right movement means a lot.
    you can go into any mosque and put a book on the table and
    if no body comes along and pick it up then it will remain there
    movement means just what it means to move something.
    the Muslims need to be move we have been in a bad state for
    a long time something have to come about movement would
    take care of that movement mean to push forward and if we
    don’t that book will stay right were you put it. and it’s a
    shame that the black American Muslim brother’s can’t see
    eye to eye.the Muslim’s who come’s from other part of the
    world with in five or ten year’s they build there mosque
    put up store’s where they live and move far away from us.
    so if it take the salon project to get the brother’s and
    sister’s to think about what happen to us then that good
    may be it might move us.

  12. Yosef Davis Peekskill, NY says:

    I agree with brother Musa we need movement.The African muslim community has become unfortunely docile and mislead to believe that movement is something alien to Islam.Read some of the literature pushed by the super dupers salafis and you would come to believe that being apart of any group that working for islam is a major sin.
    Hopefully this blog will be a catalysis in ending this narrow mindnesses.

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