by Dr. Rudolph Ware
A common phrase that you might hear when talking about daily trials of living in America is “You know the struggle is real!” It seems that this phrase has, in some ways, replaced the cliché, “It’s all good.” These phrases represent an acknowledgment of life’s challenges and the commitment to stay the course and resist giving up the fight. Yes, the struggle is real and hell is hot, so we must hold tight to some basic commonplaces that align our Blackness with being Muslim and American.
As we face increasingly anti-Black and anti-Muslim sentiment in Trump’s America, one is left wondering how can we spiritually fortify ourselves in the face of such racial and religious intolerance and disenfranchisement.
As we face increasingly anti-Black and anti-Muslim sentiment in Trump’s America, one is left wondering how can we spiritually fortify ourselves in the face of such racial and religious intolerance and disenfranchisement. Black Muslims face racism from non-Muslims and Muslims alike. If you are born into a Black Muslim family, you face the challenge of proving to co-religionists that your experiences and cultural traditions are Islamic. If you convert/revert to Islam, then you must figure out where to place your Blackness. This can be a challenge considering that some Muslims want new Muslims to shed their cultural heritage in order to be welcomed into the fold.
The irony is that shedding one’s Blackness and donning another’s understanding and cultural associations does not guarantee acceptance. So, this month we invite you to revisit Dr. Rudolph Ware’s 2016, four-part series entitled “The African Qur’an: Ramadan Remedies for Racial and Religious Intolerance. Dr. Ware’s series is an acknowledgment and celebration of Blackness, but it is also a reminder to hold fast to the spiritual gains that come from Ramadan. Dr. Ware’s introduction gives perspective on the importance of cultivating a relationship with the Blackness within Islam. Part II discusses the importance of fighting pride and intolerance–something Trump and his Make America Great Again (MAGA) believers would do well to follow. Part III and Part IV continue with examples of historical details that prove that Black people have always been a part of Islamic history and traditions.
Dr. Ware is a tenured professor of African History and Islamic Studies at the University of Michigan. He is the author of, The Walking Qur’an: Islamic Education, Embodied Knowledge, and History in West Africa, a book that explores the history of a thousand years of Qur’an schooling in West Africa.