By Shakir Muhammad, Outreach Coordinator and spokesperson, Islamic Center of Fort Collins
In response to the article “CSU student explains Islamic faith” from Feb. 14.
Everyone has their own opinion on matters, and each person can only give the story of their own life and experiences. But, things that were said by (Mr. Ahmad), who is not even speaking as a member of the MSA (Muslim Student Association) on campus or even the PakRam student group (which many Pakistani students are a part of), I think were misplaced, misleading, and incorrect.
In a quotation from Mr. Ahmad, you stated “Zakat is a form of charity,” Ahmad said. “It is one of the pillars of Islam, and all of the funds allocated in Zakat are given to the needy.” This is partially true. As per Qura’an, Zakat goes to eight specific categories including the needy, the debt ridden, and generally without a long explanation causes that are good and Godly.
In a quotation from Mr. Ahmad, you stated “This is so the rich people do not become richer, and the poor people remain poor,” Ahmad said. “This is a way for them to get help.” This claims that Islam has a communist view by limiting the ability of people to get rich. It is totally untrue. Islam has no restriction on rich people to become richer as long as they do that lawfully.
In a quotation from Mr. Ahmad, you stated “Zakat happens on a personal basis,” Ahmad said. “No one is going to ask you whether you paid your Zakat this month. It is a matter between you and God.” This statement is partially correct. However, Zakat is not only paid in the month of Ramadan. Zakat is paid annually, based on the lunar calendar, during any month of the year. One’s wealth with certain minimum amount is subject to Zakat and according to very clear procedure. But simply as the donation and (non-) collecting of Zakat stands with current-day institutions a person is not reminded to pay based on their known income to the state agencies.
In a quotation from Mr. Ahmad, you stated “This is where people offer their prayers five times a day,” Ahmad said. “When the prayer is offered, the Imam, a worship leader will stand alone and people will start forming lines behind him or her to fill up the room.” This implies that the Imam of a mosque or Muslim community (the prayer leader) can be a man or a woman. It is within the doctrine of Islam that this duty is reserved only for a male, in brief. But if there were congregations and gatherings of women then a woman would be selected to lead the women in prayer as a ‘communal imam’.
In a quotation from Mr. Ahmad, you stated “The Khutba is in English because people come from all around the world,” Ahmad said. “Although, the prayers are offered in Arabic. Anyone is welcome; no one is going to judge you or ask what are you doing here.” This is partially true or basically unclear. There are some portions of the Khutba (weekly sermon) that are to be delivered in Arabic. This primarily is in regards to reciting references from the Quran. In each locality the speaker then would address the audience in a language that everyone can understanding giving advices and explaining what had been recited in the Quran. In the US this language is most often done in English. To the last point it is true that the Islamic Center of Fort Collins welcomes visitors to listen to the sermon and observe prayers under no pretext other than to quench someone’s curiosity. It is requested that contact be made with the admin but it is not required.
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