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Prison Project

The Universe was there before mankind, then Allah created man, provided him guidance and let him use his free will, either to believe or disbelieve. Allah sent this Qur’an gradually, according to the issues faced by mankind, and this is a warning for those who want to adopt the way to their Rabb (God).

Allah says: “those who, for the love of Him, feed the needy, the orphan, and the captive (saying): “We feed you only for Allah's sake. We do not seek from you any recompense or thanks. We fear from our Lord a Day that shall be long and distressful.” (76 Ad-Dahr:8-10)

The captive implies anyone who is in bondage, whether he is an unbeliever, a Muslim, a war prisoner, or imprisoned as the consequence of a crime. The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) gave further emphasis to this in a Hadith which states, “I command you to treat the captive well.”  The result of this guidance was, that the Companions of the Prophet Muhammad  (PBUH) cared for and honored the prisoners with one prisoner saying he was fed bread while his captors ate dates, the former type

of food being the higher and more preferred one. This seemingly simple guidance, but deeply profound, should be a reminder for us all to not forget helping even those who have committed crimes. Here at Inner City Voice for Dawah we have published a series of short booklets, about 30-40 pages each. Each of them is filled with wisdom of this life and the next. The source of these booklets is what Allah says in the Holy Qur’an to guide mankind to the right way. Even though the Qur’an was written down, over a thousand years ago, it contains solutions to the self-destructive, social issues of our daily lives, such as: Racism, Bullying, Anger Management, using Intoxicants, and others. The Qur’an is Allah’s guidance in English. The approach that we've pursued is that even though the Qur'an was written down over 1400 years ago, it's as relevant to today's 21 st century world, as it was for the people of ancient Arabia. These study guides are blueprints for God-centric personality building. With our study guides you can study and teach what Allah says in the Qur’an with guidelines and direction.

Man’s greatest Need

There can be no real success without man’s greatest need, which is Allah’s guidance.

Allah is the Creator of man, therefore, it is Allah’s responsibility to provide right guidance to His creation, and show it the way to fulfill the purpose of its creation. Allah’s Guidance is not only Man’s greatest need, but it is required by Allah’s mercifulness. Who else would provide guidance to the creation, if not the Creator? And if the Creator does not provide right guidance, who else could? What greater defect could there be, for a Creator, than He should not teach His creation the method of fulfilling the purpose, for which, it has been created?

Allah’s Guidance is a Mercy, which leads to Inner Peace

Inner peace is attained when life and events are given a God-centric meaning, that satisfies the heart and mind. When the prison inmate becomes God-centric, in his thinking, he becomes fortified to not recidivate upon his release. The ultimate goal is that, God-centric inmates will include the inspirational and instructive words of Allah, and His Messenger (PBUH) in any narrative that crops up from the whisperings of the Shaitan.

These study guides are designed to make it easy to understand Allah’s Book of Guidance, as it relates to each of the thematic, contemporary issues. So that, perhaps, Muslim inmates will benefit from this Tafsir (explanation) of what Allah says. These booklets are very useful in teaching the inner aspects of Islamic behavior. It is the intention of Inner City Voice for Dawah to freely give these study guides to the Islamic section of prison libraries, both the men and the women’s sides, in Georgia and ultimately in Prisons nationwide. We want this free Islamic Studies course to be referred to, if not adopted by Muslim Chaplains as their Islamic studies curriculum. In addition to the course books, Inner City Voice for Dawah intends to recruit and hire sincere, dedicated brothers to coordinate each Prison project.

Inner City Voice for Dawah will also provide a teacher training manual and a generic lesson plan that teaches the learners how to study and learn. The primary goal of the training is to teach participants the importance of developing inner peace and the inner aspects of Islam. The inner aspects of Islam speak to the human aspect, and personality of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), The struggle inmates must undertake in order to internalize these teachings and live in harmony with them is tazkiyah. Namely, ensuring that inmates put in the effort, struggle and sacrifice to instill certain characteristics, and induce certain behavioral changes, in order to enable him to attain specific goals, as set for him by religion.

The Message of Allah, the Qur’an, has four rights:
  1. Qir‘at (to read it)
  2. Tilawat (to understand and act upon its guidance)
  3. Tadabbur (to comprehend its teachings) and
  4. Balaghat (to preach and convey its Message).

The right of “Balaghat” was made a mandatory assignment for the Muslim Ummah. The Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) has clearly stated this assignment of the Muslim Ummah in the following words: “Convey from me even if you have the knowledge of one Âyat.” In another Hadith he said: “O Muslims: The best among you are those who learn and teach the Qur’an.”

Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said: “O you, who are here, convey this message to
those who are not here.”


Allah says: “Alif. Lam. Ra.” “This is a Book, which We have revealed to you, that you may bring forth mankind from every kind of darkness into light, and direct them, with the leave of their Lord, to the Way of the Mighty, the Innately Praiseworthy, (to the Way of) Allah, to Whom belongs all, that is in the heavens and all that is in the earth. Woe, be to those who reject the Truth, for a severe chastisement. To those who have chosen the life of the world, in preference to the Hereafter. Who hinder people, from the Way of Allah, and seek to make it crooked. They have gone far astray.” [14 Ibrahim:1-2]

This is the purpose for which the Prophet (PBUH) had been sent. He was entrusted with the mission, to bring mankind back from the ways of darkness, and wickedness, into the way of Allah, by the help of the light of the Qur’an. Everyone, who is not on the way of Allah, is, in fact, wandering about in the ways of darkness and ignorance, even though he might consider himself to be very enlightened, and full of knowledge. On the other hand, the one who finds the Way of Allah, comes into the light of knowledge, even though he might be an illiterate person. As it relates to the phrase “by the permission/or leave of their Lord”, this implies that the most a believer, even though he be a Messenger of Allah, can do is to present the right way. It is not in his power to bring anyone forcibly to the way, for this can only happen by the help and permission of Allah. That is why, only that person, whom Allah helps and permits, gets guidance. Otherwise, even a perfect believer, like a Messenger, fails to bring even a single person to the right way. In regards to the divine law, according to which, Allah helps, and permits a person to gain guidance, we learn from different passages of the Qur’an that Allah gives help only to that person who, himself, has a desire to get guidance. Who frees himself from stubbornness, reluctance and prejudice. Who is not a follower of his lust, nor a slave of his desires. Who is inclined to see with open eyes, hear with open ears, think with a clear mind, and is ready to agree to a reasonable thing.

Virtual Training to Free the Muslims from Prison


Coordinator trainings will be arranged periodically, on a regional basis, and will be conducted via a virtual meeting platform. This initiative is designed to strongly impact the instinctive, God-conscious personality in inmates. These God-conscious personality building efforts are designed to fortify the captives to not recidivate upon release, not because it is against the laws of man, but because it is against the law of the Creator. Upon attaining this level of God-consciousness, the ultimate goal becomes, that inmates include the instructive, admonishing words of Allah, and the inspirational character of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) in any narrative that crops up from the whisperings of Satan.

What is Inner Peace in Islam?


Inner peace is attained when life and events are given a God-conscious meaning, in a way, that satisfies the heart and mind. Muslims greet each other by saying as salaam alaikum meaning peace be upon you. Like the majority of followers of other faiths, the majority of Muslims believe in seeking a just and peaceful world. The Qur'an teaches that Allah wants Muslims to control their aggression and approach others with peace. The notion that Islam means peace has almost become a cliche in a world where Islam’s relationship with peace is emphasized, as an attempt to reclaim it from any association with terrorism. Islam does mean peace. Not only does Islam mean peace, but it also has a strong affiliation with inner peace, through the tranquility and peace it offers, as a result of internalizing the personality traits of the Prophet (PBUH). Despite this strong affiliation with inner peace, there is minimal contemporary English literature regarding the relationship between Islam and inner peace. This is not because there is no connection between the two, but rather, it is a matter of language and conceptualization.

Most of the Islamic literature related to inner peace is encompassed within Islamic spirituality and is extensively discussed in Arabic, Persian and Turkish texts. On the other hand, contemporary English literature, on inner peace, is predominantly from a Buddhist perspective, but also includes Hindu, Christian, Jewish and non-religious perspectives. When Islamic spirituality is delved into, various Islamic concepts can be identified, that have a strong association with inner peace.

If we live and work for the sake of Allah, not just a paycheck, our life and work become an act of worship, and a source of Blessing for us. This is even more so if the work is beneficial to the Muslims. We can increase this Blessing by practicing gratitude, contentment, and charity. These good deeds can turn any Halal source of income into a source of Barakah. Ibn Umar reported: The Prophet (PBUH) said, “The most beloved people to Allah are those who are most beneficial to people. The most beloved deed to Allah is to make a Muslim happy, or to remove one of his troubles, or to forgive his debt, or to feed his hunger.”

Recidivism


Recidivism is one of the most fundamental concepts in criminal justice. It refers to a persons relapse into criminal behavior. Recidivism means going back to a previous behavior, especially criminal behavior. People who work with prisoners are always hoping to lower recidivism rates.

Nearly 700,000 offenders are released each year from prisons (Sabol et al. 2009). Resource strapped policy makers and criminal justice practitioners are increasingly turning to the faith community to help meet the multiple needs of returning prisoners. Although faith-based organizations have long served disadvantaged individuals, including prisoners, few studies have examined the effectiveness of faith-based efforts to improve prisoner re-entry and reduce recidivism, or identified the distinguishing characteristics of “faith-related” programming. None has focused on faith-based programs in corrections.

As a result, basic questions about the nature of faith-based programs and how they may improve offender outcomes, including recidivism and other re-entry outcomes, remain largely unanswered (Mears et al. 2006; Noyes 2009; Winship and Reynolds, no date). This gap makes evaluation haphazard and inhibits meaningful policy debate. Most inmates adhering to the Islamic faith, usually continue to do so after incarceration. In federal institutions Muslim inmates account for more than 5 percent of the prison population, according to the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP). In state institutions the percentage may be much higher.

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