EP 40: Are We Doing Enough for the Muslim Youth? (Powerful Advice) – Imam Siraj Wahhaj

In this episode we’re joined by the legendary Imam Siraj Wahhaj from Brooklyn, New York, who shares some powerful advice for our Muslim communities and discusses the struggles faced by our youth. We asked him what he would do if he was growing up again in today’s world as a young Muslim, given everything going on in society and the challenges our youth are facing.

Imam Siraj shares 22 minutes of pure wisdom and insights from over 40 years of experience and service among the Muslim community.

What You’ll Learn

  • What Imam Siraj would have done if he were to grow up as a Muslim again in today’s society
  • The youth around the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) and why they were so empowered
  • What Imam Siraj looks for to determine the state of a Muslim community
  • The importance of investing in the Muslim youth and advice on how to engage with them
  • Initiatives that Imam Siraj has been involved in to support the youth
  • What happened when non-hijabi sisters asked him to prove from the Quran why they should cover
  • An inspiring quote by Martin Luther King Jr.
  • Stories of how Imam Siraj grew into his Muslim identity
  • The difference between the symptoms and the problems that the Muslim youth are facing today

About Imam Siraj Wahhaj

Imam Siraj Wahhaj is Imam of the Al-Taqwa Mosque in Brooklyn, a prolific lecturer, community activist, the leader of the Muslim Alliance in North America, and former Vice President of ISNA. He first became famous for his successful efforts in fighting drugs and crime in his neighbourhood. In 1991, he became the first Muslim to recite the Opening Prayer of the Qur’an (Al-Fatiha) at the US House of Representatives.
For over 40 years, Imam Siraj has inspired Muslims from across the globe with his motivating lectures and workshops, with a gift for touching the hearts of people from all backgrounds with his positive and uplifting attitude about the religion of Islam.
Read more about Imam Siraj

Born and raised in New York, he became a Sunday school teacher as at a young age, then later went to Wilfrid Laurier University (WLU) where he studied biology education.

In 1969 he joined the Nation of Islam and was taught under Louis Farrakhan at the height of the NOI’s anti-Malcolm X rhetoric. He became a Sunni Muslim after the death of Elijah Muhammad in 1975 and Muhammad’s son Warith Deen Mohammed took over and reorganized the organization, urging members to come to orthodox Islam. Kearse then changed his name to Siraj Wahhaj. He was chosen to study Islam at the Umm al-Qura university of Mecca in 1978. He also briefly taught a course in Islamic studies at Howard University. In 1981 he started his own mosque, Masijd ul-Taqwa, in a friend’s apartment in Brooklyn. Although it originally started out with only 25 people, today it is well-known.

In 1988 he led his community in an anti-drug patrol in which they staked out drug houses in Bedford-Stuyvesant in the cold of winter for 40 days and nights, forcing the closure of 15 drug houses. This effort received high praise from the New York City Police Department and the media.

Since that time, Siraj has been active in many Islamic organizations. He has been vice president of the Islamic Society of North America since 1997 and has served on the Majlis al Shura, a consultative council of Islamic scholars, since 1987. He is a member of the Board of Advisors for the American Muslim Council and has also served on the national board of the Council on American-Islamic Relations.

Siraj is a prolific speaker in America. He makes many appearances at major North American Muslim conventions, and numerous forums and lectures in New England. His audio and video lectures are also popular in America’s Muslim community. He is known to encourage Muslims to be God-fearing, enjoin good and forbid evil, practice regular charity, stay away from drugs, abstain from pre-marital relations, and other issues as well. He has also appeared on several national television talk shows and has had interviews with several media outlets.

Our Episode Sponsors

Scottish Annual Conference serves the community through educational Islamic conferences, in order to enrich the learning environment of the Scottish community and supports reputable charities for their Aid Projects. Their journey began back in 2017 with the first conference in Glasgow Central Mosque. Later with the hard work of their dedicated team and the support from local community, they formally launched as Scottish Annual Conference in 2018.

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Deen & Dunya is Scotland’s Islamic Lifestyle Store, established in 2015.
Providing Scottish Muslims with unique products to help practice their Faith. Specialising in Ramadan & Eid Gifts, the store is also a one stop shop for all your islamic essentials, from Quran, modest clothing, gifts, educational books, Hajj & Umrah resources, Oud Perfumes and much more.

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