“To Allah we belong and to Him is our return.” (Quran, 2:156)
The leadership of the Association of Muslim Chaplains feels pained to grieve, once again, alongside friends, families, and communities over the death of another Black person due to racism. We’ve been here too many times before. We know the names, we know the faces, and we know how deep the pain runs. As the organization of Muslim chaplains that aims to provide professional development for spiritual caregivers in the military, health care institutions, correctional institutions, campuses of higher education, and communities around the country, we renew our intention to dismantle and eradicate the racist structures in society through introspective, spiritual and social awareness and rectification.
Racial oppression has devastating effects on everyone. Dr. Ken Hardy explains that it is a traumatic form of interpersonal violence that can lacerate the spirit, scar the soul, and puncture the psyche. Racism, overt, or implicit, results in behaviors that demean, devalue, and diminish the God-given value of a group of people. All of us are called to evaluate and own our biases and assumptions, those subtle and those overt, that impede our ability to honor fully the souls entrusted to our care. Allah says, There is cause to act against those who oppress people and transgress in the land against all justice– they will have an agonizing torment– 42:42. It’s a new day and Allah is inviting us to confront this spiritual and societal evil.
The Qur’an, the life of the beloved Prophet (s), and the ways of the righteous spiritual teachers inform our spiritual approach to racism and racial division. From the supremacist actions of Iblis, to the Prophet’s (s) way of mercy to all, to the Qur’anic ennoblement of all souls, we are taught that the best among us is the one with humility and piety: In God’s eyes, the most honored of you are the ones most mindful of Him: God is all knowing, all aware (49:13). Perhaps it is precisely this call to awareness that animates the first, and crucial, step toward the dismantling of racism. In what ways do we, as Muslims and as chaplains, — knowingly or not — perpetuate racism? In what ways can we, as chaplains, better heal and be healed? How can we, as spiritual caregivers, work within our respective fields to affect change on individual and system-wide levels?
The AMC stands in solidarity with the families of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, the countless Black lives murdered, and Black people everywhere struggling to breathe free every day. Insha’Allah, we make du’a for the slaughtered, their families, and the protestors working for justice. We ask Allah to guide our ummah to the light of understanding, to rid itself of the scourge of racism and be better Muslims. Ameen.
Ibn Umar reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace, and blessings be upon him, said:
اتَّقُوا دَعَوَاتِ الْمَظْلُومِ فَإِنَّهَا تَصْعَدُ إِلَى السَّمَاءِ كَأَنَّهَا شَرَارٌ
Beware of the supplication of the oppressed, for it ascends to Allah as if it were a flare.
In truth and service,