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On the Practice of Islaam in Prison
By Ali Khalid Abdullah, Prisonersolidarity.org
June 6, 2007

Gary Sumrall, Chaplain
Department of Public Safety and Corrections
Louisiana, Correctional Inst. For Woman
St. Gabriel, LA 70776

RE: Inmate Maryam Uloho #464534

Dear Chaplain Sumrall:

BISMILLAAHIR RAHMAANIR RAHEEM (In the name of Allaah, Most gracious, Most Merciful)

May the Peace of Allaah be upon you.

I forward this letter to you in regard to the above captioned inmate regarding her practice of Islaam at your facility.

I am an inmate and Islaamic Imaam (Spiritual Leader), and would like to share a few words with you regarding the religion and requirements of individuals seeking to learn about this religion. My purpose is to help facilitate you and your staff's broader understanding
regarding this religion (which is widely misunderstood), especially in light of the tragic events that are taking place in the world today.

Please be advised that Ms. Uloho have not asked me to contact you. In fact, she does not even know I am writing, but she will be receiving a copy of this letter.

I take this initiative because she and I have been corresponding with one another and I have been sharing, as best as I can, information to help aid her and other interested parties, in the proper application and understanding of this religion.

Ms. Uloha has brought to my attention that she is a "beginner" in Islam and thus seeks to learn and advance, so that she will be able to practice her religion in the most correct form. As I have explained to her, one may be a Muslim for many years and still -- in the true sense of the word -- be a "beginner," because there is so much to learn. In fact, one will never in a lifetime, learn everything there is about the religion. Just as in Christianity or in Judaism, learning takes place in perpetual stages, until the day one dies. Therefore, when Ms. Uloho implies she is a "beginner in Islaam", she is, in fact, speaking the truth.

I have been a Muslim for over 35 years and there is still much for me to learn. For example, every Muslim is required to learn the language of Arabic because that is the language in which the Qur'aan was revealed to Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessing be upon him), and as such, it is the language in which we must offer our prayers. It matters not if you are an American, Japanese, a Spanish speaker, an Italian, or what have you, all must learn Arabic, which can be a trying language.

It is a language of words with precise, unquestionable meanings, as well as multiple nuances. Many of its words cannot be translated verbatim. For example, as-Samad, one of the names of Allaah, can mean the Absolute, the eternally Besought of all, etc. Classic
Arabic has consistent, predictable rules of grammar, pronunciation and spelling, making it actually a fairly easy language to learn, but very difficult to master. It is hard to comprehend the Our'aan correctly, which can have an effect in one's understandings of such words as "Jihaad." Jihaad literally means the "inner cleansing" or "cleaning," but also has other meanings that include fighting in the way of Allaah. This does not necessarily mean a literal fight, but rather the more important spiritual inner fight against one's own
negatives. Sadly, however, we have individuals who have taken the word of "Jihaad" and used its meaning one dimensionally, for self-serving interests, political aspirations and vengeance etc. These individuals need to be properly educated, as do the general public.

I don't wish to take up much of your time, but I wanted to share with you so that Ms. Uloho should not be looked upon suspiciously when she expresses being a "beginner" in the religion of Islaam. I thank you in advance for your time and understanding. Please feel
free to call upon me if you desire. May Allaah, be with you and your loved ones during these turbulent times.

Ali Khalid Abdullah # 148130
Muskegon Correctional Facility
2400 S. Sheridan Rd.
Muskegon, MI 49442-6298

 
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