[Shamim A Siddiqi, New York]


Islam is a reality in America. No amount of propaganda and hate campaign can deface it. It has come to stay and flourish by leaps and bounds. However, it has many challenges to counteract and equally a lot of opportunities to sustain its growth in the body politic of the country. I will try to analyze these two features in brief.




1.   Historical perspective: “Islam came to the United States of America in the form of a religion as Judaism and Christianity are understood in the West. It thus remained restricted to some rituals of Ebadah - Salah, Sawm, Hajj, Zakah, celebration of Eid and fostering Muslim names and nomenclature.  It was a kind of traditional Islam with no motivating force behind it with little attraction for others to enter in its fold. The concept of Al-Deen, the way of life, covering the entire spectrum of human society, both at individual and collective levels was missing altogether. However, even in this concocted and incomplete form, Islam attracted the centuries old exploited and deprived people of America, especially of African-American origin. They entered in its fold in hundreds of thousands in the outgoing 20th century. Soon millions more from the African-American, Latino-Americans and Native-Americans will knock at the door of Islam within a few decades now onward.


Islam is thus concentrated in the Immigrants and African-American [Black] Muslims. Hardly seven to ten thousand Muslims are Caucasian-Americans [white] and most of them are sheltering under Sufism. The vast majority of Americans have no concept about Islam except some concocted and distorted allegations and prejudices that has nothing to do with what Qur’an presents and Rasulullah (S) demonstrated in his (S) life pattern.  They have no idea as what values Islam promotes and what a trustworthy character it produces? They have not the least any concept as what a benevolent society Islam fosters? They just measure it in terms of mispropaganda and misinformation being infested by secular media and zealot missionaries day in and day out.  Hence the prime most challenge is to introduce Islam to the people of the land as the way of life [Al-Deen] and as a boon to human society when practiced in totality. 


2.  Hate against Islam and Muslims: Muslims in America, especially Dawah oriented, were doing their best to give a correct picture of Islam for the last so many years but the tragedy of September 11, 2001 has vehemently torpedoed this process. The prejudices and misconceptions that were very much alive in the society erupted instantaneously taking the shape of hate campaign against Islam and Muslims. The Western Media, especially Jewish, fanned it beyond proportion. In the wake of this crisis situation, Muslims of America have no choice but to present themselves as conscious Muslims and Muslimah and groom their families on Islamic lines so they and their families usher in as models of Islam in their respective neighborhood and vicinity where they live. Muslims in America have to accept this challenge as upper most in their mind, otherwise their future does not augur well.      


3.   Disorganized Muslim Community: Muslims are the most disorganized people of this country. There are a mushroom of associations, communities, Masajid, educational institutions and political factions without any central leadership and a joint platform. Some are local and many are national with a few that are recognized at international level. Muslims are socially weak and politically carry no muscle. They have to groom themselves up on one platform. Hardly 15 % are attached to the organizations listed above. The rest are lost and being lost in the melting pot of the dominant American culture and permissiveness. If they soon are not recovered, the so-called numerical strength of Muslims will evaporate in the air. To this effect the writer submitted a paper “Organizing American Muslims” last year, mailed it to Muslim leadership of America as how to make them conscious Muslims and Muslimah, reclaim them from this liberal society and organize them politically into a vibrant community but with little effect. [It is available now on my website:] Thus besides creating the sense of self-consciousness in the Muslims of America, they are to be galvanized into one solid platform, if they are to live in this country with honor and a political will of their own in the midst of devastating currents and crosscurrents against Islam and Muslims. As an organized community, they are yet to emerge and play a distinguished role in the body politic of the country. It is an open challenge to Muslim leadership of America and they have to accept it.


4.   Absence of an Indigenous Islamic Movement and Model Muslim Characters: The American society is very skeptical about Islam. Centuries old prejudices are rampant. The Christian missionaries are spreading their anti-Islam propaganda day in and day out. A very distorted and bigoted edition of Islam has thus been cemented in the minds of the people. It could be removed by presenting the correct picture of Islam in an organized fashion. It could be possible only through a throbbing indigenous Islamic Movement. That is yet to be developed by the Muslims of America. The existing Muslim organizations are doing it in a very limited sense but that too in a very haphazard way with little effect on the masses so far. This is the paramount challenge to the Muslims of America and they have to build the Islamic Movement of America in order to present Islam to the people of the land as the alternate way of life in an organized fashion and in a continuous process. The Muslims are yet to produce the model Muslim characters, a boon for the society and for the people to think about Islam and get inspiration from these characters.


5.   No model community: Simultaneously, Muslims are yet to build up and develop some model communities in this country or elsewhere in the world to show a working model of Islam as how to live, act and behave like Muslims in different fields of life, individually and collectively. This is practical challenge to Muslims to present and demonstrate what they believe and advocate. The society of Madinah and its inhabitants were the best models of their time. We have to produce now the models of our time. This is a challenge not only to the advocates of Islam in America but around the world.


6.   Dearth of Dawah/Islamic literature in American English: It is another challenge. It could not be encountered so far successfully. In August 1979, when Late Maulana Maudoodi ® was in Buffalo, NY, I went to see him and sought his advise for starting Dawah work in America. He categorically advised that you have to produce your own literature in this country. He opined that the literature produced in Indo-Pak subcontinent or in the Middle East would be of little use to us.  Since then more than twenty years have passed, we could not make much headway in this domain. In my humble way I tried but it is just a drop from the ocean that is needed here.  This has become a stumbling block in spreading Allah’s Deen in this country, both in the intelligentsia and the masses.  The IMOA will have to address this issue first along with building the requisite team of Da’ees in American perspective.


7.   Backlash of Freedom Movements around the world: Wars of freedom are going on in different parts of the world. Muslims of Chechnya, Palestine, Kashmir, Bosnia, Kosovo, and Kurds are fighting for their legitimate right to freedom. Similarly, struggles for human rights and establishing a democratic process in the body politic of the country are rampant against the pro-western regimes throughout the Muslim world. The USA and its Western allies have cunningly termed these freedom fighters as “terrorists”,  “fundamentalists” and “Islamists” to cover their nefarious game of anti-Islam and anti-Muslim animosity. The secular and the pro-Israel Zionists media are multiplying this mispropaganda unabatedly in various tones, leveling the Muslims as “terrorists”. This negative propaganda against Islam and the cause of the freedom fighters in each case need to be addressed properly in its historical perspective and the chain of oppression that has been let lose thereto.                  


8.   American arrogance: Americans are conscious of their global power, military might and economic vibrancy. It has taken the shape of unprecedented arrogance in the mind of American leadership, both Republicans and Democrats and the people are also very much conscious of this phenomenon. The USA is using all the coercive means to bring down the weaks, especially Muslim nations, on their knees. If not, they are termed as rough nations, sponsoring, promoting or protecting terrorism. This arrogance has empowered the American people to be contented with their own cultural and materialistic values, leaving far behind the ethical and spiritual phenomenon. This attitude of life has inclined them not to care for Divine Guidance. American people are enjoying the luxuries of life and a very high standard of living, worshipping it to the extent of an idol.  Apparently, they are not willing to give up their liberal pattern of life for the sake of Islam and its moral values. This attitude of arrogance has made them to envision about Islam as a “sub-human” religion and Muslims as “violent” people. Muslims have to face this materialistic challenge both in the intelligentsia and masses.




1.  Blessings of the Negative Propaganda: In my considered opinion, the anti-Islam and anti-Muslim propaganda is the greatest opportunity being provided by our adversaries for the spread of Islam in this country. In their zeal to mislead their own people, they have introduced Islam to a vast majority of the people of America with a distorted image of Islam, the job that Muslims could hardly do even in decades. They have made Islam a household talk and increased their curiosity to know about Islam. The sale of Islamic Literature, especially that of the Qur’an has increased many a times.  Now our job is only to reach out the people, remove their misgivings and put the positive side of Islam.  This scenario resembles with that of Makkah when Quraish filled its atmosphere with adverse and negative propaganda against Islam and Rasulullah (S). The way Rasulullah (S) encountered it with increased Dawah efforts, both extensively and intensively. Similarly, the Muslims of America have to encounter the misleading propaganda of American press and media through extensive and enormous Dawah efforts. When the truth will come into the field, the untruth [Batil] will take to its heel. Muslims of America must avail this opportunity that Allah (SWT) has managed for them in His infinite mercy. 


2.   Land of Opportunities: Going deep through the panorama of challenges as discussed above, it appears that Muslims themselves are the Challenge # One for Islam.  If they remove their inherent pinpointed shortcomings, become conscious Muslims and Muslimah, they will soon be able to overcome these challenges. In that situation, the challenges will become opportunities. America is known as the land of opportunities. This saying is not restricted only to economic opportunities but ideological ventures too. The socio-cultural life of the people is unbalanced. Family structure is fast dismantling. Moral values are withering away. The growth of economy is lopsided. There are disbalances everywhere in the socio-economic-political life of this country. They are in dire need of solution and salvation. The situation is quite fit for Islam to emerge as panacea for all the evils of this land of opportunities. Islam is to be presented before them as an alternate way of life to create balance and moderation in their life. But it would be effective and attract people’s attention only when the Muslims transform their own life as models and build up model communities in the midst of this liberal society.  It will attract them and incline them to think and accept Islam as a way of life.


3.   Modern means of communication: It is an age of Internet, website and quickest means of communication. In this respect, world has really become a village. America is a hub of these fastest developments and its availability is possible practically in every home within a couple of years. Muslims can deliver the message of Islam in a very fascinating manner to every home, school, college and university campuses through a network of their websites. This immense opportunity was not available even a decade ago and now it is making great headway in the field of Dawah and mass contact program, a blessing from Allah (SWT) for the spread of His Deen.


4.   Muslim’s Integration in American society: At present there are about seven million Muslims in America, scattered all over the country in different groups and sizes. This number may soon be approaching to ten million within a couple of years. The metropolitan area of NY alone accommodates about a million Muslims, adding around four to five billion dollars to Federal, State and local exchequer, presenting a noticeable contrast of ethnicity to panoramic cultural backgrounds of USA. Muslims are serving and rendering useful services in every field of trade, commerce, science and technology and military too. Their importance is increasing day by day and they cannot be ignored howsoever the vested interests may create hue and cry against Muslims and Islam. Equally, they cannot be erased from the integrated life of America. This is already paying dividend. American womenfolk are very much fascinated towards Islam. They are entering in its fold at an accelerated pace. Business class people, especially Jews, prefer to have Muslims as their assistants and employees, as they are honest, are more dutiful and do their job sincerely, even while fasting and praying during office hours. They compensate it otherwise. This factor will be playing more effective role in the spread of Islam, when Muslims will become conscious and carry their assignments at job and market places with a better sense of accountability to their Lord.

5.  Islam – The common heritage: Islam is the common heritage of all the three Abrahamic faiths – the Jews, the Christians and the Muslims.  Islam was the Deen that was brought by the Moses, Jesus and Muhammad (Peace be upon all of them].  The followers of the three Prophets of Allah were called Muslims. But unfortunately, Jews and Christians forgot their original name and now calling themselves as Jews and Christians whereas the followers of Prophet Muhammad (S) are carrying out their original name “Muslim” – that follows Islam.  It is now the responsibility of the Muslims of America to remind their Jewish and Christian brothers and sisters with love, care and concern that they all are Muslims and have the common believe in the Oneness of God, Allah the Almighty, believe in the Day of Judgment and the accountability in Akhirah.  Equally, all the three “Islamists” have the common assignment from their Creator and Sustainer to establish the Kingdom of God, the authority of their Supreme Lord, on this earth. These common grounds are the paramount assets of Islam in America. Once the Muslims are able to remove the centuries old misgivings about Islam, succeed in presenting Islam in correct historical perspective, convince the Jewish-Christian community that Islam is their common faith/heritage and legacy of Prophet Abraham and that Islam is the need and urgency of our time, they may give up their hesitancy towards Islam and come into its fold in greater and greater number with the pass age of time.


6.   Destiny of America:  America is the crown citadel of western civilization. The goddess of materialism has reached its zenith. The idol of capitalism has attained its saturated point in the growth of free market economy as America is practicing and promoting all around. In other words the modern Jahiliyah [ignorance] has reached its perfection. It is now waiting an Abraham, a Moses or a prophet of time to come and challenge the edifice of this Taghooti system and replace it with a divine system of life with the willing consent and cooperation of the people of the land on the pattern Prophet Abraham challenged the idolatry of Namrood in Iraq and Moses drowned the arrogance of Pharaohs in the waters of Nile. The advent of Muslims in America is to meet the will of Allah. No prophet is to come. But this inherent work is now to be done by the Muslims of America. The things are very obvious. Muslims are gradually heading towards perfecting the destiny of America to bring its people into the fold of their Creator and Sustainer. No amount of animosity from any quarter, it may be Zionists, Christian missionaries, vested capitalist interests or the stalwarts of liberal democracies can stop the march of Islam in America. They all will ultimately recognize the supremacy of Islam and surrender to Allah (SWT) and His authority. This is the destiny of America and it will unfold its mysteries with the passage of time and the growing consciousness of Muslims to rise to the call of their Iman and meet the fulfillment of their obligation that Allah has thrown in their lot.


O Allah help the Muslims of America to understand the realities of today and give them Tawfeeq to prepare themselves to forebear the responsibilities that are lying ahead of them in discharging the onerous task of leading the greatest and the mightiest nation of the world to its natural destiny in near future. That would be the red-letter day of American history when people of the globe will love Uncle Sam wherever he will go. At that time, world will be a place of peace and justice and America will be its greatest champion, declaring to the world: Our superiority lies now in the obedience of Allah and service to humanity. That day is not far off.



Shamim A Siddiqi

Dated February 12, 2002