February 1st marked the start of the celebration of Black History Month, the annual observance of the remembrance of the significant accomplishments, contributions and events in the history of the African Diaspora. The origins of the celebration began with Carter G. Woodson and the observance of Negro History Week in 1926 and grew in popularity over the following decades. The first Black History Month celebration was observed in 1970 and the observance was acknowledged by the United States Federal government in 1976.
The Risala Foundation, a local Houston organization dedicated to furthering the understanding of Islam, will be hosting several events during the month of February in the observance of Black History Month. It is important to note that the Risala Foundation was in part named to honor the work of a Muslim scholar, Bilal (Ben Ali) Muhammad, a Muslim slave in Georgia during the mid-nineteenth century. Bilal Muhammad was the first American-Muslim community leader and author of the first Islamic text written in the United States; his book is referred to as the Risala and was written in Arabic about Islamic beliefs, the rules on prayer and the rules on cleanliness. Risala is now preserved in the University of Georgia along with other historical American texts.
On Friday, February 15th, Muhammad Mendes and Khalis Rashaad will present In Praise of Slowness: A Dialogue on Living a Life of Simplicity, Authenticity and Connectedness and on Saturday February 16th Br. Mendes will offer a detailed exposition of the African narrative in Islam entitled African Roots in Islam. Program details are provided below.
Friday, February 15
In Praise of Slowness: A Dialogue on Living a Life of Simplicity, Authenticity and Connectedness
Featuring: Muhammad Mendes & Khalis Rashaad
Time: Program starts at 7:45 PM (after Isha)
Place: Maryam Islamic Center, 504 Sartartia Road, Sugar Land
Saturday, February 16
African Roots in Islam
Featuring: Muhammad Mendes
Time: Program goes from 12 PM to 5 PM
Place: Ibrahim Islamic Center, 5215 Almeda Rd, Houston
Join us for a detailed exposition of the African narrative in Islam. Ustadh Mendes will discuss the depth of African scholarship and contribution to Islam, starting from the Sahabah all the way to present day America. He will also discuss reasons that we know very little about those historical figures that have shaped our very presence in the United States. This will not be your average history lesson.