Safiyyah Abdullah was born in Chicago, Illinois, the oldest of three siblings. When she was 14, she flipped on the 6 o’clock evening news and saw something that would change her life forever.
“One of the American Indian Movement leaders – I think it was Russell Means – got off the airplane in Spain, put a spear in the tarmac at the airport and said, ‘I claim this land in the name of the Lakota people’. That was an opening of awareness into reality for me. I was basically looking for the truth and that was my first realization of the truth…that everything we’re raised on in this country is based on falsehood. That one moment caused me to start evaluating what I had been taught about our country, our culture, our society, our history. It led me down the path of evaluating religions as well. After I was about 16 or 17, I started studying various religions and ideologies looking for the truth, and that’s when I came upon Islam.”
Q: What’s your favorite book by Imam Khomeini ?
A: It’s a tie between 40 Hadith and Adab as-Salat/Etiquettes of the Prayer. The reason I chose those two books on the same basic topic of akhlaq is that in order to progress as a human being you have to understand the relationship between the created and the Creator. That’s how you come to understand your place in the web of life. Adabus Salaat teaches you how to turn that connection between you and your Creator into a life line for your soul so that you’re truly connecting with your Lord in prayer, as opposed to just doing ritual exercises. 40 Hadith is a book in which Khomeini talks about the different hadiths of the Prophet (s), and what it does is it teaches you how to live your life in this world: how to interact with society; how to interact with your Creator; how to interact with yourself…because a person has those three basic relationships, and all of them have to be balanced in order to become a complete human being.