Greetings of Peace (al salamu 'alaykum). I pray that you are managing in these exceedingly difficult times. I am sure I am not alone in feeling a constant dark heaviness overhead that makes much of each day feel like wading in a pool of muck. Things are slower, they are harder to process. Time continues to move at an irregular pace. The news is outrageous and depressing. It is times like this that I am grateful to know that God promises justice and that light will always ultimately prevail over darkness. That there is accountability to come. In the meantime, let us do whatever we can to make a difference wherever we can insha'Allah (God willing).
I am also extremely grateful that we had an incredibly enlightening and powerful conversation last Saturday with our dear friend, Lara (a.k.a @GazanGirl). Her passion and brilliance were profound and inspiring. May God give her strength, empowerment, and protection! She is a gem. If you haven't had a chance to watch, here is the video:
In this fourth Real Talk session on Palestine, Lara shared what she has been doing since October 7th, how things have changed for herself and her family in Palestine, how she has been receiving and sharing real-time news on the ground from Palestine, and what the implications of the genocide in Gaza are for the state of International law and the governing bodies that are supposed to prevent genocide. Lara is a Palestinian-American Lawyer and co-host of The Palestine Pod, where she and her Jewish-American comedian co-host dispel myths, undo false narratives, and talk about all things Palestine. The last time we had the pleasure of a conversation on Palestine with Lara was back in May, 2021. Both conversations were absolutely illuminating.
NEW ON SUBSTACK THIS WEEK
I continue to be convinced that there is an opportunity for anyone with an interest in or talent for writing to make a difference on Substack, an increasingly popular platform for writers, journalists, and activists to share their thoughts without the negative influence of algorithms.
It seems that given the profound stories of unshakeable faith amidst disaster in Palestine, people in the West are becoming interested in Islam. A similar dynamic took place after 9/11.
For example, I have seen lots of TikTok videos recently where people are starting the read the Qur'an and even convert as a result! I also learned of this TikTok video by a Muslim convert (shared on Instagram) who loved The Prophet's Pulpit and encouraged her followers to take advantage of the Share With A Friend Campaign. Shortly afterwards, we started getting a lot of requests for gift copies of PPV1! :)
So, if not just to help offset the world's Islamophobic AI, please consider starting your own Substack page to add your personal narrative (It's fun! Really!), creating your own TikTok videos to share Usuli content, and/or offering gift copies of The Prophet's Pulpit via Usuli to anyone who is interested in Islam! Just a few suggestions on how to make a difference. :)
THE TESTIMONY OF DOGS IN GAZA
This week, in keeping with my mission to uplift the status of dogs in the Islamic tradition, I wrote a new piece on how the gift of dogs and puppies make us better humans, which leads to the topic of what has happened to pets in Gaza. It is intended as a look at humanity from a different angle.
And as always, I want to call attention to last week's piece by Wietske Merison, who as a "Muslim Birder," shares powerful reflections at the intersection of the Qur'an, nature, and life lessons from coming to know God's incredible creation of birds. Her new piece is called "American Robin," which is rich with history, love, and honor for the indigenous - birds, humans, and life!
On her Substack: Gift from the Heavens: Musings of a Muslim Birder
A REQUIEM FOR PALESTINE
Finally, I want to share this incredible piece of music by our dear friend, Wietske Merison, who created this piece to honor our blessed brothers and sisters in Palestine. It is absolutely beautiful and moving. Please share widely.
Let us continue to pray and act on behalf of all the Muslims around the world who are suffering. May God empower us to take whatever action is within our means to make a difference in these very dark times. May God empower, comfort, and forgive us all. Ameen. Look forward to seeing you online soon insha'Allah.
In Peace and Hope,