Light without Fire: The Making of America's First Muslim


Light without Fire: The Making of America's First Muslim College it s a good read if you want to be introduced to what the muslim american experience is like and how muslim american education could look like, but this book leaves much to be desired when it comes to the depth of its reflections. Some books call out to you to share them with others Recently I read Scott Korb s book Light Without Fire about the first year at Zaytuna College, America s first Muslim liberal arts college, and while reading it and since completing it, I can t stop talking about it with others.There are so many things to appreciate and admire about this book To begin, it is rare to encounter an author who is able to talk about Islam Muslims with honesty and sensitivity In Light without Fire, the author s ad Some books call out to you to share them with others Recently I read Scott Korb s book Light Without Fire about the first year at Zaytuna College, America s first Muslim liberal arts college, and while reading it and since completing it, I can t stop talking about it with others.There are so many things to appreciate and admire about this book To begin, it is rare to encounter an author who is able to talk about Islam Muslims with honesty and sensitivity In Light without Fire, the author s admiration, warmth and connection with the people he meets shines from every page, and you get the sense that he is not a journalist simply watching Zaytuna from the sidelines, but someone who participates in the life of the community When he visits the Lighthouse Mosque in Oakland for Friday prayers for instance, he lines up shoulder to shoulder with others in prayer When he attends the mawlids a celebration of the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him , at Zaytuna or in the broader community, over time he becomes familiar with the poetry and sacred music that is recited.His curiosity and engagement makes the book a very readable, thoughtful, interesting, important read, and one that rewards its reader generously for their time and attention It makes the book a light, a book of beautiful writing, subtle humour, and humanity, that helps the reader see and understand Zaytuna Collegeclearly Always carry a little notebook around with you Whatever inspires you, or rings true for you, was meant for you So make sure you write it down Faced with what Faatimah called the obvious way that the Zaytuna classroom or really any classroom was not like the rest of the world, and vice versa, every moment deserved the attention of a notetaker Though the Zaytuna classroom might be structured with the books and schedules and tests that are the trappings of any classroom, what s out here is no less important, structured as it is, she said so muchby the divine The whole world is the classroom She saw in it signs and proofs of Allah Light without Fire, p.110 In the spirit of this advice to be a notetaker given by Shaykh Yahya Rhodus , below are a few thoughts from my read.The rest of the review can be found on my blog here The story of America s first Muslim institution of higher education, Zaytuna College In the fall of , anti Muslim furor in the United States reached a breaking point, capping a decade in which such sentiment had surged Loud, angry crowds gathered near New York s Ground Zero to protest plans to build an Islamic cultural center, while a small time Florida minister appeared on national television almost nightly promising to celebrate the anniversary of with the burning of Korans At the same time, fifteen devout Muslims quietly gathered in a basement in Berkeley, California, to execute a plan that had been coming together for over a decade to found Zaytuna College, Where Islam Meets America It would be the nation s first four year Muslim liberal arts college, its mission to establish a thoroughly American, academically rigorous, and traditional indigenous Islam In Light without Fire, Scott Korb tells the story of the school s founders, Sheikh Hamza Yusuf and Imam Zaid Shakir, arguably the two most influential leaders in American Islam, rock stars who, tellingly, are little known outside their community Korb also introduces us to Zaytuna s students, young American Muslims of all stripes who admire indeed, love their teachers in ways college students typically don t and whose stories, told for the first time, signal the future of Islam in this country From a heady theology classroom to a vibrant storefront mosque, from the run down streets Oakland to grand ballrooms echoing with America s most powerful Muslim voices, Korb follows Zaytuna s students and teachers as they find their place and their voice He ultimately creates an intimate portrait of the school and provides a new introduction to Islam as it is being lived and re envisioned in America It s no exaggeration to say that here, at Zaytuna, are tomorrow s Muslim leaders

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *