A lecture for those seeking the correct understanding of the utterly misunderstood concept of jihad. Zaid Shakir, addressing an audience at Northwestern University in Chicago, takes a comprehensive look at this truly noble and important concept in Islam. He first analyzes the word itself: its linguistic meaning, its derivatives, and its meaning as described in the Holy Qur’an. He then looks at the practical and normative application of jihad (or struggle) in the everyday life of the Muslim: the struggle of purifying the soul, the struggle of physically fighting in the way of Islam, the struggle with non-antagonist non-Muslims, and the struggle with the devil. Along the way, he explores many related topics such as terrorism, situations that justify the use of violence, various tools one can utilize in struggling against the self, love and compassion with non-Muslims, and the struggles within the family. And he concludes with a commentary on the role of Muslims in non-Muslim lands. An ideal talk for schools, libraries and Muslim student organizations. Other topics discussed: the destruction of the Buddha statues in Afghanistan, the Muslim response to pacifism, jihad in defense of non-Muslims, and the need to establish institutions that can help eliminate root causes of violence. (Duration: 1 hour, 22 min)
The history of enslaved Muslims in the West is well documented. What is less well know is the influence they had and the impact they left in the communities that they were enslaved in. In a captivating speech, Imam Zaid Shakir talks about the legacy that great individuals such as Ayuba Suleiman Diallo and Abdu-l-Rahman Ibrahim Ibn Sori played during the time of slavery in the United States. He outlines the importance of making connections with our Islamic history and why it is important to be aware of how their steadfast nature and upright character serve as examples to Muslims across the world today.
A few weeks ago, I attended the “Curbing Violent Extremism” hosted by the ADAMS Center in Sterling, Virginia. Zaid Shakir, an Islamic activist and teacher at Zaytuna College spoke alongside Mohamed Magid, the imam of the ADAMS Center and the new President of the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA). I found the discussion invigorating and refreshingly frank. Below is a recap of some of the major points and the Q&A that followed.