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?!