Sunday, August 27, 2017

In the Footsteps of Hajar, Part 1: Black Muslim Women Pioneers

By Jamillah Karim

Photo by Joi Faison, Eid al-Fitr 2017
Connecting to our foremothers with fabric from the Motherland
My dress: Fabric from Nigeria, made in Dakar, Senegal
Ayisha's dress: Fabric from Dakar, made in Atlanta by designer and beloved Audra Karim
In the legacy of our community mothers, celebrated in my post
 "Our Black Muslim Mamas Been Rocking Hijab Since Before We Were Babies"

O Allah, honor us by making us 
the beloved community, and there is no honor except by You. And finally, in these special days, when the selected among our community prepare to walk in the footsteps of our mother Hajar, or Hagar, make us faithful and content with You, as was she when she faced the adversity of being left alone in a new land that You, O Allah, made her home and the home of Your beloved Muhammad, prayers and peace be upon him. And like her, O Allah, may we struggle for Your pleasure so that our children can be at home in this new land, thriving in this new land where the people of Muhammad (S) will shine with your light and love. Ameen.

I made this dua before an audience last year at ISNA 2016. Dhul Hijjah, the month of the hajj, was about to commence.

It’s that special time of year again, and though I hadn’t planned it, Allah so beautifully planned it, that I would have another opportunity to remember Mother Hagar, peace be upon her, on a public platform.

Mohammed Saleem interviewed me for the latest ImanWire podcast, which was released just days before the commencement of Dhul Hijjah 2017. Please listen to "In the Footsteps of Hajar: Black Muslim Women Pioneers" here. Here’s a summary of what we discuss:

“Despite facing the challenges of being marginalized at the crossroads of their race, gender and faith, Black women have been pioneers in the Muslim community in America. In this episode, Dr. Jamillah Karim, author of "Women of the Nation: Between Black Protest and Sunni Islam", details the rich history of Black Muslim women in their journey from the Nation of Islam to the Warith Deen Mohammed community. In focusing on their narratives, Dr. Karim discusses the importance of amplifying their voices and their relevance in helping guide the community at a time when racial and gender equity still remain elusive.”

Saleem opened with a lovely tribute to Mother Hagar, and then connected me and the women of my community to her legacy. What an honor! We discussed my book Women of the Nation for most of the episode, and then he almost had me in tears when he closed with a reading of his favorite quote of mine, from a post here on “Hagar Lives.”

“And don’t think that because you love Muhammad Ali and read the Autobiography of Malcolm X, it means that you are down with my people. Rather, it means that Allah has chosen White and immigrant Muslims to be leaders in recognizing what has been done to Black people in this country, that it is your moral duty to truly be brother and sister with Black people, and that God has given you an advantage in the fight for and with Black people by putting love for Ali and Malcolm in your hearts.”

To be continued here, “In the Footsteps of Hajar, Part 2

For Mother Hagar’s full story and why my beloved sister Ayisha and I remember her through our words, revisit this post.