The Mahr (Bride Gift)

is a common problem for Black American Muslim women. Many never see it, especially if it something of any substance besides three surahs (short chapters of the Quran) and a iron ring. These same brothers will be the first to tell a sister off for going to “kafr” courts for spousal or child support. Brothers when you get married, you enter into a contract. That is not a debt that can be forgiven, it is not something that Muslim women (who are often left vulnerable by the traditional roles they take) can write off as an expense as some uncollectable debt. Sure, you can bust out that “I owe you one on youm al qiyama.” But is that one you can have hanging over your head? I think it is time that we develop a database for all masajid and community members to know if they can trust going into any business with a brother who refuses to pay an outstanding mahr to a sister he divorced. Also, sisters going into a marriage need to know if they their prospective has some outstanding debt, knowing she’ll likely be in the same wack situation.

Working While Muslim in America: The ‘Id shut Out

Last year, at Stanford my Arabic instructor at the time, who happened to be an Arab Muslim, didn’t think it was appropriate to cancel class. I remember being stuck in traffic coming from the ‘id prayers, stressed out about making it back to Palo Alto in time. Two of my sistah-sisters who rode with me were in the same predicament. I apologized for making them late and deep inside regretted my foul mood. After I finally found a parking space, I had to rush to locate the Arabic reading materials just before class started. This Arabic was supposed to be a class linked to Stanford’s burgeoning Islamic Studies program, yet there were no accommodations for Muslim students or faculty. Yet, on Yom Kippur even some of the most secular and liberal professors and students were notoriously absent and classes were canceled. Right now, I’m reeling over a boss who just shut out ‘id. It’s especially annoying knowing how much they value those Turkey Days and weeks off during X-mas break. It is experiences like these that make you feel out of place as a Muslim in America. Your boss or your professor can say: Screw you practicing Muslim, nobody cares about you or your holiday. It makes me question things, when enlightened places of America’s elite institutions of higher learning like UPenn and Stanford do little to create a space where Muslims can celebrate a day that is really holy for us, and not just a secularized day where we just buy stuff or eat stuff.