Voting in America is a way that Muslims can express their Islamic belief in public engagement. Prophet Muhammed, prayers and peace be upon him, called upon the voices of the women and men to hear their voices in matters of community concern.
The Qur’an calls the Islamic expression of democracy shurah baynahum; translated it is saying, “conduct your affairs by mutual consultation.” Muhammed, even as the prophet, did not set up monarchies, oligarchies or chauvinistic orders that promoted misogyny. Those social ills crept into Islamic societies in later generations.
For African American Muslims, many who converted to Al-Islam are deeply rooted in the history of America’s Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s and ‘50s. We lived through the life and legacies of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad, the noble life of Dr. Martin Luther King and Malcolm X Shabazz, Medgar Evans and Sister Rosa Parks. Voting for African American Muslims of that ilk is extremely important because we did not get our “blackness” from a history book; we earned our place by paying the price that all other Americans paid in order to walk into a voting booth with a sense of dignity, pride and indebtedness to those who bled, sweated and died so we could vote today.
In this current election season for the office of president and the important congressional and gubernatorial seats, the eyes, ears and souls of African American Muslims are keenly attuned to the heartbeat of these campaigns and what they mean to our well-being in our American society.
On a national level there is a vibrant group called African American Muslims for Biden-Harris that is holding regular Zoom meetings with leading figures of the Biden-Harris campaign. In association with another Muslim voting bloc called Black American Muslims, the African American Muslim voice is actively pursuing every right, privilege and accountable responsibility that America affords every citizen.
The group, Black American Muslims, declares, “We the Black American Muslim faith and civic leaders reflect a distinct tradition within our country that is grounded in faith-inspired civic responsibility, community service, and political participation responsive of our community’s social, political, and economic needs.” They further stated, “We are proud Black American Muslims and the product of some of the greatest social reforms of Africans who were once enslaved in our nation.” You can learn more about this group at bam-vote.com. “African American Muslim Souls to the Polls” is the slogan of African American Muslims for Biden-Harris.
Imam Dr. Talib Shareef of Washington D.C. said this is a call to all African American Muslim leaders, Imams, chaplains, Islamic institutional leaders and other groups and entities on behalf of the Biden presidential campaign. Imam Talib explained, “This is an added initiative focusing specifically on speaking with, addressing and connecting African American Muslim Faith leaders to the campaign. It is being established as a result of contacts with the campaign by members associated with the leadership of Imam W. Deen Mohammed and other African American Muslim leaders in the interest of unity and collective power.”
Our future is here in America. Our fore parents paid a dear price for the freedoms we enjoy. Therefore, we’re obligated to make way for a better future for our next generations.
Michael “Mikal” Saahir is the resident Imam of Nur-Allah Islamic Center. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 317 753-3754.