History of Islam in America: Whither and Where – Yasir Qadhi

28 05 2008

A comprehensive history of Islam in America. Yasir Qadhi explores the history of Islam and Muslims in the Americas from the beginning to the present day, discussing everything from the pre-Columbus era to theories about early Muslim exploration of the New World, to the Muslim Slave experience, the Nation of Islam, right through to the advent of both early and recent Muslim immigration. Coincidentally, from the same podium where Abraham Lincoln spoke a few hundred years ago, and Barack “Hussein” Obama, two days earlier. Along the way we learn the amusing story about Hajji Ali, also know as Hi Jolly, the Greek-Syrian convert from Constantinople who was hired to come to America and raise camels of all things.

Yasir Qadhi gave this speech at IlmFest 2008 in New York hosted by AlMaghrib Institute’s Qabeelat Tayyabah.

Notes from the lecture:

-Until we understand where we came from, we dont understand who we are and how Islam became so prominent in the Americas.

-Even during slavery Abu Bakr AsSiddique said that “The faith of our family is the faith of Islam” (1834)

-The money that financed Columbus came from the fallen Muslim caliphate of Grenada a few months prior to his setting sail in 1492.

-George Washington is quoted as saying that he would “even” have “Muhammadans” (ie: Muslims) come to Mt. Vernon if they are good workmen (citizens).

-The well documented slave, Ayyub ibn Sulayman wrote 3 entire Qur’ans from memory which are still present today. He went to England to see the king in the 1730s and when they wanted to paint him in his cultural garments, he said that he would describe them (for he did not have any).. to which the painter replied “how can I draw something I haven’t seen”… to which Ayyub ibn Sulayman said::

“How can you then draw pictures of God, Whom no one has seen?”

-One slave, Bilani Mohammad was owned by a just slave owner who allowed the slaves to practive Islam freely.

-Later, a book of Bilani Mohammad was found–this was a book of fiqh written from memory and changed for the situation of the slaves.

-Many of Mohammad’s descendants had memories of their great grandfather and other relatives practicing Islam. Among the many points, they said

“Aunty Hanna was mighty punctual about prayer”

-The Nation of Islam spread a pseudo-Islam in the African American community – but, sometimes bad things lead to good. i.e: Muhammad Ali (who made “Muhammad” a household name) and Malcolm X joined orthodox Islam after first going through the Nation.

-“Hadji Ali, a Greek born in Constantinople and later converted to Islam. His name was too complicated for people to pronounce, so if you wanna look him up you’ll have to search under the name “Hi Jolly”

He was buried in Quartzsite, Arizona, there’s a pyramid with a camel on top of his grave and it is the most popular tourist attraction in Quartzsite, Arizona. The question is, what else can be found in Quartzsite, Arizona?!





9 responses

29 05 2008

Asalam alaykum , thats so fascinating . I noticed you have al qurn wa sunnah , I attend the lessons their .

30 05 2008
Umm Yusuf

wa alaikum as salaam amal,

I attend lessons there as well. 🙂

1 06 2008

As-Salaamu `Alaykum,

I’m going to check this video out, insha’ALLAH.

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, however, was never in the Nation of Islam. In fact, the NOI killed some people who were affiliated with the “Hanafi Movement” that Abdul-Jabbar was a part of.


2 06 2008

As-Salaamu `Alaykum,

Overall, he made a very good presentation although he was constrained due to time. It’s a very deep subject.

Another note of correct is that Elijah Muhammad’s son Akbar Muhammad, who attended Al-Azhar, was Elijah’s youngest son, not oldest. Warith Deen Mohammed’s move away from heterodoxy to orthodoxy was not a by-product of Akbar being in Egypt. Warith Deen had meetings with Islamic scholars including Abul-`Ala Mawdudi (RH) in the 60’s when he made Hajj as well as Shaykh Ahmad Kuftaro (RH).


2 06 2008
Umm Yusuf

Assalaamu Alaikum warahmatullahi wabarakatuhu Brother Dawud,

Thank you for taking the time to listen to the lecture and post your comments/corrections!

May Allah reward you in this world and the Hereafter. ameen.

Wa Salaam

6 06 2008


how’s it going? 🙂 do you take almaghrib seminars? missed your blog..has sister muniqaba been hanging around here lately?

6 06 2008
Umm Yusuf

wa alaikum as salaam wrwb sis,

Alhamdullilah, going good and you?

Actually, I attend free Islamic courses on http://www.sunnahfollowers.net

Subhan’Allah I haven’t seen sis Muniqaba. I know she closed her blog. I haven’t seen or heard from her since. 🙂 Insh’Allah she is well.

6 06 2008

me good too alhamdulillah, just go done with my finals, only yesterday on vacation now for 3 months 🙂 insha’Allah i will be going for ‘umrah next week. you n yr family r in my prayers habibi insha’Allah 🙂

6 06 2008

habibti* ughh the ‘t’ in my laptop is defective 😦

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