Saturday, January 18, 2020

Coffee and Converts

( Note: below you will find our recent presentation at "Coffee and Converts" program, held at Masjid Ibrahim Las Vegas. In it, we share thoughts on navigating the challenges, both from inside and outside Muslim circles, and developing a healthy Islamic foundation. A brief Q and A session follows. This video is highly recommended to all viewers, regardless of their backround.)


Tuesday, December 24, 2019

An Ear Of Benefit: thoughts on the role of faith in the modern world

Last week I received a telephone call at my office. The caller expressed their gratitude for "all the efforts" I did which- according to them- changed their life for the better. The sentiments expressed by the caller was obviously heart-felt, and influenced me to think about the countless times such sentiments have been expressed by those who have been positively impacted by us in one sense or another. On a personal level, there is undoubtedly a sense of gratification, a sense of accomplishment, that our efforts achieve positive results, but it also made me recall a rather profound, if undervalued, statement in the Qur'an.

Among them are men who molest the Prophet and say, "He is (all) ear." Say, "He listens to what is best for you: he believes in Allah, has faith in the Believers, and is a Mercy to those of you who believe." But those who molest the Messenger will have a grievous penalty.

The above is from Soorah 9:61, Abdullah Yusuf Ali translation. The Tafseer literature states that the hypocrites are those whom the Quranic verse above is mentioning, they used the expression "He is an ear" (Huwa Udhunun) to assert that Prophet Muhammad          صَلَّى اللّٰهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ           did not have the ability to distinguish between those who are telling the truth and those who are lying to him.(ft.1).

In other words, they saw him as naive, as-at best- a useful fool. The Prophet's congenial and helpful nature was well known, even by those who would become his foes. He was known as someone who was very honest and trustworthy (As Saadiq and Al Amin), and was involved in activities designed to take care of the downtrodden(ft.2).

To the assertion that he is naive , the Qur'an says "Say: He is an ear, an ear of benefit to you" (Qul:Udhunu khayril lakum).  This is an extremly profound assertion. It is profound because it expresses the fact that there are people out there, blessed by God to function as blessings to others. Similarly, there are institutions out there, which function as a vehicle for the channeling of those blessings.

Long Term Benefit

People of faith want to be connected to those which will help them in developing their faith and to channel their positive impulses to that which is wholesome. Those who lack faith, or are simply oppurtunistic in nature, can only go after short term benefits, and only for selfish reasons. They cannot think in an alturistic manner. Such thinking is- according to the Qur'an, a consequence of having a diseased heart!

The nature of Prophet Muhammad is a nature that has so much love, goodness and mercy therein, even for those who may not necessarily agree with his prophetic claims, that the benefits from his teachings actually outlived him as a person.

I think the same thing can be said of other messengers of God, as well as Non Prophetic figures, men and women who have been blessed with so much internal goodness that it shines forth and benefits others long after the death of those initial personalities.


Strive to do what is right, avoid the company and influence of those who are insincere, have diseased hearts, whose baggage is extremly destructive, and BE the blessing. Allah will in turn bless you. The blessings will be passed around, benefitiing all they touch at some level.

Have faith in this path, have faith in the ONE who created all of us, try to be positive even in the midst of the temptations to give in to negative emotions and naysayer detractors, and take as a model of success the human model, universal messnger and seal of the Prophet, Muhammad ibn 'Abdullah, upon whom be Allah's peace and blessings.


[1] This explanation is given by Imam Ash-Shawkanee(d.1839 CE)  in his Commentary Fat-h ul Qadeer. Similar explanations are found in other tafaseer as well.

[2] The Hilful Fudool is the association that is said to have been created after an internal conflict in Arabian society. It is said that the Prophet (before the Prophethood) was twenty years old when this association was created.

Monday, November 18, 2019

Methods And Goals Of Contemplative Practices In My Faith (Panel Discussion )

(The following is an edited version of my presentation for the 2019 Interfaith Forums, organized by the Interfaith Council of Southern Nevada, held November 10th, 2019 at Masjid Ibrahim.)


The Qur'an tells us "Indeed, prayer restrains from immorality and repugnant actions" ( Q 29:45). The word translated as "prayer" is "Salaah". In our faith, it is observed at least five times daily, during specific times of the day. The Salaah ritual has therein recitation of Quranic texts, bowing and prostration. God does NOT need that we do this, or any other act of worship, rather, it is we who need it.

The Salaah ritual is regulated, offered in a particular fashion, and is deemed a religious obligation. The spiritual and physical benefits of Salaah have been widely recognized. The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) identified it as the main exercise which distinguished between faith and lack of faith.

The Qur'an reminds us that there will be a time in which we are held accountable before God, and the salaah essentially reminds us of that, therefore it becomes important to do as much positive works as we can. Thus, the Qur'an connects the ritual of salaah to the giving of a portion of one's wealth to the benefit of worthy causes, such as uplifting the poor. Similarly, the Qur'an expresses criticism of those who do ritual worship, yet are neglectful of needy human beings.

Dhikr- The remembrance of God

Another ritual act done is known as dhikr! Traditionally, this includes the recitation of  God's names, formulas of praise and glorification. As a ritual, it is not deemed in an obligatory sense- the important exercise is the mental one here. The Qur'an says "The remembrance of God is the greatest (source of inspiration and power)" .

Dhikr as a ritual often takes place after the Salaah, and can be offered at any time without any preconditions. If we engage in this act (be it in a ritual or non ritual fashion)- it helps us to internalize the very hopes we seek from God. In other words, if we invoke and recall God as The Ever-Forgiving (Al-Ghaffar), forgiveness should become a part of our character as well.


The actions of Salaah and dhikr produce a sort of barrier against mental and spiritual attacks, and is the main ways by which we connect ourselves to the Almighty.

With that said, what is perhaps most curious on this point is that miracles and mystical experiences are NOT the goals of these actions! THIS does not negate that miracles can take place, and that people can experience mystical moments, yet the fact of the matter is is that such things are subjective and ultimately do not provide any evidence beyond an individual level.

This is illustrated in the experiences of the 12th century figure, Shaikh Abdul-Qaadir Al-Jilani.  Once while he was praying, a voice comes to him, saying "I am your Lord".  The Shaikh replies "Are you God?" After repeated questioning, this voice says "I am making  lawful for you what I made unlawful for others". The Shaikh replied "You are Satan, because I know God would not make lawful for me what He has made unlawful for others".

Miracles are not what we need, because they can themselves be misleading. What we need is the inspiration derived from worship to be able to recognize truth and produce in this world, that is the formula for success in this life, with springs to enjoy in the life to come.

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Quranic Insights: Roadmap for a Better Life

( Below you will find parts one and two of a presentation on the utility of the Quranic revelation. It covers issues ranging from the sciences, hermeneutics, literalism and allegory in religious discourse.)



( Q and A session)

Saturday, August 24, 2019

Towards creating a balanced personality: brief reflections on the role of Prophet Muhammad)

( Note: the following is an article that is based on reflections shared in our Friday Khutbah 8/23/19. Both that khutbah and this article  should be viewed as a follow up on our Khutbah entitled " The Islamic Formula for Happiness: A Quranic perspective", which can be found part 1 as well as Part 2 . We recommend, in the interest of viewing the whole context, that  the above referenced Khutbah be viewed.)

Why Prophet Muhammad?

لَقَدۡ کَانَ لَکُمۡ فِیۡ رَسُوۡلِ اللّٰہِ اُسۡوَۃٌ حَسَنَۃٌ لِّمَنۡ کَانَ یَرۡجُوا اللّٰہَ وَ الۡیَوۡمَ الۡاٰخِرَ وَ ذَکَرَ اللّٰہَ کَثِیۡرًا

" Indeed, you have in the Messenger of Allah, a goodly model, for any who has hope in Allah, the final day, and who recall Allah abundantly." ( Q 33:21)

While the above quotation is often viewed superficially(ft.1), this Quranic verse tells us to look at the Prophet as an example of real success. He functions as an example for those who have hope in the future, hope in God's designs and plan.

While the Qur'an does tell us ( Q 9:129) that the core characteristics of the Prophet was that of kindness and compassion, there is another side that is present.

Another characteristic of the Prophet

"Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah, and those with him display strength(ashidda) with those who reject, yet display mercy with each other. You see them, in rukoo' (bowing), in sajdah (prostration), seeking bounty from Allah and His pleasure, in their faces ( i.e. the core of their being) are the traces of that submission ( min atharis sujood)" ( Q 48:29).
 مُحَمَّدٌ رَّسُوۡلُ اللّٰہِ ؕ وَ الَّذِیۡنَ مَعَہٗۤ اَشِدَّآءُ عَلَی الۡکُفَّارِ رُحَمَآءُ بَیۡنَہُمۡ تَرٰٮہُمۡ رُکَّعًا سُجَّدًا یَّبۡتَغُوۡنَ فَضۡلًا مِّنَ اللّٰہِ وَ رِضۡوَانًا ۫ سِیۡمَاہُمۡ فِیۡ وُجُوۡہِہِمۡ مِّنۡ اَثَرِ السُّجُوۡدِ ؕ
The above verse highlights the characteristics of strength and resolve. That requires working hard to accomplish necessary goals. The Prophet was not so "merciful" as to be passive!

The idea of passivity, of surrendering to tyranny (of whatever form) in the name of "surrender to God's will" exists within every religious community in some form or another, but what we learn from the Prophet Muhammad is that he had to face those who sought to destroy him, his followers and his community, and he faced those challenges by being proactive.

Both texts (33:21 and 48:29) have connecting to God in common. In Soorah 9:128-129 we see not only that the Prophet was kindly and compassionate, we  read therein a formula that he was to recite, to seek out God's presence and protection.

Some people believe that a passive, weak personality, is necessary for a healthy spirituality and even assert that such have moral superiority over Prophet Muhammad. Christian apologists cite Jesus's supposed passivity in the face of opposition as an example of his moral superiority over Muhammad.(ft.2).

When a personality is both spiritual and displaying strength, it can breed jealousy, opposition as well as slander. Worldly motivations are projected unto the Prophet, as well as the creation of stories of atrocities.

This happens to Prophets as well as Non Prophets. Good people, who want to see good within themselves and their societies, become targets by those opponents with jealousy within their hearts, or by those who themselves derive some power or benefit from an evil status quo.  It can be disheartening to those trying to do good.

When feeling like this, the Qur'an says to look to the Prophet Muhammad, upon whom be peace.  The Qur'an says, in essence, to the modern reader, "Look at what the Prophet was able to accomplish."

Arabian society had so much serious baggage in those days, well known social and religious ills, and the Prophet was largely successful in removing those bad elements, turning rough people into brave, yet contemplative, personalities, such as 'Umar b.Al-Khattab. His followers became people who looked inward, who worked hard on themselves. They did so by following the Prophet's example, by prayers, contemplation upon Allah (ft.3), discipline, and cultivation of the self.

Thus, the Prophet Muhammad is a model of success, not simply in the religious realm, but in the worldly life as well. The teaching that he conveyed-from Allah-has within it things which we could all use to create happiness and security in life. It is true that not all that he conveyed ("allowed" is perhaps a better term) is always to our pleasing, being as we all come with our own personal and cultural baggage, nonetheless those options are there.

More importantly, the personality of the Prophet is that of a balanced human being. He can be strong when fighting is necessary, but he can likewise be calm, kind and compassionate at those other times when strive is not present.

There are exaggerations and outright slanders against him. These things are brought up as attempts to indicate that the Prophet was a vicious and petty criminal. If such accusations were valid, Islam would have never went anywhere! It would have died out or become of marginal affect.

Yet, the contrast is the reality. Islam is here to stay. It is here to benefit all humanity. It is not here to be imposed by force, but it functions as a blessing.

 Image result for quran 33:56


(1)  It is to our dismay that Muslims tend to quote this verse as evidence of a superficial following of the Prophet, taking only things such as dress and eating style from him. Muslim scholarship has wisely stated that there are things we follow of the Prophet when it has religious impact, but that there are things of the Prophet that exist only due to his place and time, such as the dressing style and other things common to all Arabs.  A superficial reading of the Quranic verse does a disservice to the Prophet.

(2) Other assertions made by Christian critics assert that the Prophet's married life was governed by sensual concerns, whereas Jesus was a higher moral code due to being celibate. These type of accusations have been addressed elsewhere by this writer See Here .

(3) The Hadeeth literature is full of examples of individuals coming to the Prophet, seeking out advice on making themselves better. There are even accounts of a self-accusatory nature, wherein people would even embarrass themselves in public by sharing their shortcomings, yet the Prophet would generally find ways to make them feel better about themselves. One example is found in both Al-Bukhari and Muslim, summarized thusly: A man wanted to confess to an indiscretion, the Prophet kept pretending not to hear him. After prayers, the man repeated the confession, the Prophet asked him if he had just prayed with him, the man replies in the affirmative. The Prophet replies that God had already forgiven him (i.e. the questioner).

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Quranic Study Notes ( 10: 101-109) Understanding the results of faith

( Note: The following is a summary of my notes from which we have addressed blocks of verses in the Qur'an's tenth chapter. This article should be read as a continuation of our other Study notes (Comparing Faith and its opposite) at [url][/url] . As in previous Study NOTES, the translation has not been provided, unless otherwise stated. This allows the reader to focus on the text itself. If the reader is unable to read Arabic, they can consult the translation of their choice. In these STUDY NOTES we have avoided referencing translations because we recognize that the terms selected by the translator(s) may create limiting or even incorrect understandings.)

( Q 10: 101)
قُلِ انۡظُرُوۡا مَاذَا فِی السَّمٰوٰتِ وَ الۡاَرۡضِ ؕ وَ مَا تُغۡنِی الۡاٰیٰتُ وَ النُّذُرُ عَنۡ قَوۡمٍ لَّا یُؤۡمِنُوۡنَ

Mental sobriety is needed to attain authentic spiritual reward/guidance. As previously discussed in verse 100, those who don't use their minds to the potential available are placed in a loathsome position, even if those under that position have deluded themselves otherwise.

The Qur'an repeatedly tells us to investigate, observe, contemplate the creation. Creation itself is an evidence of the Creator. In this regards, it is also good to understand that if we see God's artistry in the world, that should make us become open minded, willing to benefit from the diversity of the world. This would destroy the attitudes of racism, xenophobia, and arrogance that we are currently seeing on the rise, even in "Muslim" circles.

It is interesting that Allah (Soobhaanahu wa ta'alaaa) says here that those without Imaan (faith) benefits neither from ayaat (signs, evidences) nor Nudhur (warnings).

This seems to indicate that Imaan itself, an awareness of God's existence, is in itself generally a  prerequisite for guidance. This is speculation on the part of this writer, that this is a normative rule. This is "speculation" because we know personally about people who were self-declared atheists and agnostics who-through no effort on their own, and without believing in God initially, were guided to faith.

In the Qur'an (3:190) it says that the universal existence, the presence of night and day, serve as "signs for people of understanding " (uulil-al-baab).

It seems that we actually have a sequence of how things are normally suppose to go when it comes to these issues. The formula being IMAAN + OBSERVING=GUIDANCE.

It can also be written as OBSERVING+ IMAAN=GUIDANCE.

Thus, some can enter into faith due to encounters with "miracles", while others are inspired by intellectual arguments.

It is also interesting that in connection to "warnings", all of us are in need of that sometimes, including God's own servants who are already striving to be conscious ( Q 16:2).

(Q 10:102)
فَہَلۡ یَنۡتَظِرُوۡنَ اِلَّا مِثۡلَ اَیَّامِ الَّذِیۡنَ خَلَوۡا مِنۡ قَبۡلِہِمۡ ؕ قُلۡ فَانۡتَظِرُوۡۤا اِنِّیۡ مَعَکُمۡ مِّنَ الۡمُنۡتَظِرِیۡنَ

An address to those who reject faith and arguably for Muslims as well. Their time is coming to a conclusion, they need only wait.

I should point out here that the word for "look" (Undhur) and "wait"
  (Untadhir) are from the same root, and makes logical sense, you sit around ("wait"), looking around. What will you see?

ثُمَّ نُنَجِّیۡ رُسُلَنَا وَ الَّذِیۡنَ اٰمَنُوۡا کَذٰلِکَ ۚ حَقًّا عَلَیۡنَا نُنۡجِ الۡمُؤۡمِنِیۡنَ

You will see Allah "saving" the prophets and believers. This also carries, more importantly, the meaning that the message, the cause of Imaan will be vindicated and that the cause of rejection will perish naturally.

This interpretation is admittedly unusual but it is made keeping in mind that believers, even Prophets, are sometimes killed or die in battle. So when we see "save" , we should not read it in some SUPERMAN sense!

قُلۡ یٰۤاَیُّہَا النَّاسُ اِنۡ کُنۡتُمۡ فِیۡ شَکٍّ مِّنۡ دِیۡنِیۡ فَلَاۤ اَعۡبُدُ الَّذِیۡنَ تَعۡبُدُوۡنَ مِنۡ دُوۡنِ اللّٰہِ وَ لٰکِنۡ اَعۡبُدُ اللّٰہَ الَّذِیۡ یَتَوَفّٰٮکُمۡ ۚۖ وَ اُمِرۡتُ اَنۡ اَکُوۡنَ مِنَ الۡمُؤۡمِنِیۡنَ
وَ اَنۡ اَقِمۡ وَجۡہَکَ لِلدِّیۡنِ حَنِیۡفًا ۚ وَ لَا تَکُوۡنَنَّ مِنَ الۡمُشۡرِکِیۡنَ
Ultimately we are to worship Allah alone.  That was the cause of Prophet Muhammad and indeed of all of the Prophets (peace be upon them).

وَ لَا تَدۡعُ مِنۡ دُوۡنِ اللّٰہِ مَا لَا یَنۡفَعُکَ وَ لَا یَضُرُّکَ ۚ فَاِنۡ فَعَلۡتَ فَاِنَّکَ اِذًا مِّنَ الظّٰلِمِیۡنَ

وَ اِنۡ یَّمۡسَسۡکَ اللّٰہُ بِضُرٍّ فَلَا کَاشِفَ لَہٗۤ اِلَّا ہُوَ ۚ وَ اِنۡ یُّرِدۡکَ بِخَیۡرٍ فَلَا رَآدَّ لِفَضۡلِہٖ ؕ یُصِیۡبُ بِہٖ مَنۡ یَّشَآءُ مِنۡ عِبَادِہٖ ؕ وَ ہُوَ الۡغَفُوۡرُ الرَّحِیۡمُ
Idols bring no benefit, whereas Allah, the source behind creation, is the All-Powerful.


قُلۡ یٰۤاَیُّہَا النَّاسُ قَدۡ جَآءَکُمُ الۡحَقُّ مِنۡ رَّبِّکُمۡ ۚ فَمَنِ اہۡتَدٰی فَاِنَّمَا یَہۡتَدِیۡ لِنَفۡسِہٖ ۚ وَ مَنۡ ضَلَّ فَاِنَّمَا یَضِلُّ عَلَیۡہَا ۚ وَ مَاۤ اَنَا عَلَیۡکُمۡ بِوَکِیۡلٍ
The "guidance" is the Qur'an itself. It functions as an eternal warning. It is for our best interests to follow that guidance, and to be patient with regards to the Divine decrees.

It is important here to remember that the Quranic word usually translated as "patience" (Sabr) has within it the meaning of perseverance. In other words, keep going, keep striving, don't surrender one's faith, morals and relationship to the Divine.

Quranic Study Notes: Comparing faith and its opposite ( 10: 95-100)

Note: The following is a summary of my notes which form the core of regular presentations on the Quranic scripture. Unless otherwise stated, the translation has NOT been included. This allows the reader to focus on the explanations given, and to consult the translation of their choice when the need arises.

( 10:94-95)

 فَاِنۡ کُنۡتَ فِیۡ شَکٍّ مِّمَّاۤ اَنۡزَلۡنَاۤ اِلَیۡکَ فَسۡـَٔلِ الَّذِیۡنَ یَقۡرَءُوۡنَ الۡکِتٰبَ مِنۡ قَبۡلِکَ ۚ لَقَدۡ جَآءَکَ الۡحَقُّ مِنۡ رَّبِّکَ فَلَا تَکُوۡنَنَّ مِنَ الۡمُمۡتَرِیۡنَ

 وَ لَا تَکُوۡنَنَّ مِنَ الَّذِیۡنَ کَذَّبُوۡا بِاٰیٰتِ اللّٰہِ فَتَکُوۡنَ مِنَ الۡخٰسِرِیۡنَ

The immediate audience of the Prophet-Sall Allahu 'alayhi wa sallam-  were-despite the regularity of it now coming to him,  still found Revelation to be an unusual experience. His audience is reminded that this is actually something which has been experienced by other communities as well, and are, in essence, told to ask the members of other communities about those experiences.

This comes to the point that revelation of scripture comes with the purpose of empowering those who have faith. THIS is phased in other places as "guidance" ( Q 2:2), "light" ( 5:15), etc.. . All of these terms show that there is benefit to all of this, and ignoring it only works to do us harm.

 اِنَّ الَّذِیۡنَ حَقَّتۡ عَلَیۡہِمۡ کَلِمَتُ رَبِّکَ لَا یُؤۡمِنُوۡنَ

 وَ لَوۡ جَآءَتۡہُمۡ کُلُّ اٰیَۃٍ حَتّٰی یَرَوُا الۡعَذَابَ الۡاَلِیۡمَ

The narcissists, those who are "in too deep" will not accept truth, regardless of the powerful evidence presented.

It is difficult for the sincere adviser when his words are not heeded. He cares for his audience, especially when they are his family or loved ones. Those loved ones are so immersed in their destructive lives, behavior and thinking that they are simply blinded to truth. The Prophet Muhammad is told in another place " Do not let their words cause you to grieve" ( Q 10:65).

If certain audience members are blind and oblivious to the warnings, to the truth, the Prophet, and those who follow him, are to simply move on.

( 10:98)
 فَلَوۡ لَا کَانَتۡ قَرۡیَۃٌ اٰمَنَتۡ فَنَفَعَہَاۤ اِیۡمَانُہَاۤ اِلَّا قَوۡمَ یُوۡنُسَ ؕ لَمَّاۤ اٰمَنُوۡا کَشَفۡنَا عَنۡہُمۡ عَذَابَ الۡخِزۡیِ فِی الۡحَیٰوۃِ الدُّنۡیَا وَ مَتَّعۡنٰہُمۡ اِلٰی حِیۡنٍ

It is not always a lost cause, as this verse points us to. As the expression goes "Lose the battle, win the war!". Jonah, or Yunus in the Quranic language, is an example of the war being won!

Jonah-' alayhis salaam-  is commissioned for Nineveh,  a civilization which had its center in Southern Iraq. He was a Prophet sent forth to them, and they- as a social unit, heeded the warnings, rectified their attitude and behavior,  and as a result, their civilization was revived!

Islam - as found in the Qur'an and as lived by the Prophet Muhammad, comes with a similar mission. This has been found to be true historically as well as within the lives of great individuals. This writer often cites as wonderful examples persons as diverse as Umar Ibn Al-Khattab and Malcolm X.

In any case, if we are to have any civilization model, let it not be Pharaoh's  Egypt, but rather that of Jonah's Nineveh.

( 10:99-100)
 وَ لَوۡ شَآءَ رَبُّکَ لَاٰمَنَ مَنۡ فِی الۡاَرۡضِ کُلُّہُمۡ جَمِیۡعًا ؕ اَفَاَنۡتَ تُکۡرِہُ النَّاسَ حَتّٰی یَکُوۡنُوۡا مُؤۡمِنِیۡنَ

 وَ مَا کَانَ لِنَفۡسٍ اَنۡ تُؤۡمِنَ اِلَّا بِاِذۡنِ اللّٰہِ ؕ وَ یَجۡعَلُ الرِّجۡسَ عَلَی الَّذِیۡنَ لَا یَعۡقِلُوۡنَ

Imaan (faith) is life-saving, and a new injection of life is delivered to a society which accepts that Imaan. However, it cannot be done at gunpoint. It has to be voluntary, done with full awareness and sincere acceptance.

The latter statement in v.100 is quite powerful in the original Arabic. A rather rough sounding translation is as follows "And He( Allah)  makes 'Rijs' for those who don't use their minds".

Rijs means that which is abhorrent, disgusting, loathsome. In other words, when the mind is not used, particularly in areas of faith, God will put on them signs of being abhorrent.

While contextually this is faith-related, I believe we can see this outside of that as well. Rejection (Kufr), a topic which has been addressed here comes as a result of blindness, arrogance, tyranny and the like. In other words, they have been unable to use their minds, not only in a limited "religious" sense, but in the social and political as well. The rather frightening populism gripping not only the USA but UK to a limited sense has daily, often filmed, examples of irrational xenophobia. Spanish speakers are most often singled out, harassed and even physically attacked when heard conversing in their native language.

In the Qur'an (5:90) the same term Rijs is used in connection to intoxicants, gambling and the like. These things have destructive capacities which are well known. Mainly, these items are not only addictive, they affect the minds of its captives ( a carefully chosen word) in a negative way.

So faith should be- at its core- intellectual- having arrived at it via careful study and research. IT should translate into a broad mind, it should be transforming, certainly to the extent that a person should be able to be more open minded and not easily becoming mentally captivated as we are unfortunately are witnessing today. Racism, xenophobia, and the like seem to be clear cut characteristics of Kufr.

In these regards, there is a Prophetic Supplication which reads, in part:  "O Allah, I seek refuge with you from Kufr". If we understand Kufr in its broad definition as outlined in the Qur'an, as being the core of various social and personal diseases ( in thinking), we can see the import of that supplication, as well as what Imaan itself should manifest.