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The As-Sabiqun (السَّابِقُونَ) is a Muslim organization under the leadership of founder Imam Abdul Alim Musa, based in Washington DC and with branches in Oakland (led by popular speaker and activist Amir Abdul-Malik Ali), Philadelphia, Los Angeles, San Diego, and Sacramento.

History and inspiration

The organization was created by African-American Muslim convert Imam Abdul Alim Musa in the early 1990s at the Masjid Al-Islam mosque in Oakland, California. The name As-Sabiqun, is approximately translated from Arabic as "the vanguard". The inspiration for the name comes from the verse in the Quran (9:100):

"The vanguard (of Islam) - the first of those who forsook (their homes) and of Those who gave them aid and (also) Those who follow them in good deeds. - Well pleased is Allah with them. As they are with Him. For them hath He prepared Gardens under which rivers flow. To dwell therein for ever. That is the Supreme Felicity."

Ideologically, the group is influenced by the writings of Sayyid Qutb, Maulana Maududi, Uthman Dan Fodio, Kalim Siddiqui, Ayatollah Khomeini, Hamid Algar and Muhammad Abduh. Organizational leadership has delivered numerous speeches in the United States and abroad, contributing their analysis and efforts to solve contemporary problems in the Muslim world and the urban America. The paramount goal of the movement is the establishment of a modern Islamic state, or Caliphate, governed by shariah (Islamic law). Imam Musa has indicated a dedication to avoid what he calls an "absolutist" outlook on the advancement of Muslims. For example, while the group does not personally advocate participation in the American political process as an ideal method for advancing Islamic issues in the US, he does not criticize groups who do. The As-Sabiqun philosophy stresses unity between the various Islamic organizations, regardless of methods, in the attainment of common goals. Cooperation on domestic social issues with like-minded non-Muslim groups is also encouraged, as long as Islamic ethics and morality are not compromised. Additionally, although the As-Sabiqun is a Sunni movement, they have publicly voiced support for Shia movements and organizations such as the 1979 Iranian Revolution and Hizbullah. Imam Musa has repeatedly stressed that the tendency by some Muslims to focus on the differences between Sunni and Shia Islam at this juncture in history is counterproductive to the goals of the Islamic movement as a whole.


The group encourages social-political advancement concurrent with a program of spiritual and moral development according to the Quran and Sunnah of Muhammad. Leadership stresses a "do for self" methodology, similar to the Nation of Islam, a group many As-Sabiqun members were formerly affiliated with before accepting orthodox Islam. The inspiration for this concept is based on the Quranic verse: “Verily never will Allah change the condition of a people until they change it themselves (with their own souls)” (13: 11)

Imam Abdul Alim Musa has recommended a list of five "Things to do Now", to facilitate personal development, which include:

  1. Spend at least thirty minutes a day reading the Quran. The early morning after fajr is the best time for framing the word of Allah.
  2. Always be equitable in all situations. Never allow anger to make you forget your merits, nor let affection and pleasure blind you to defects. Don't allow disputes to make you ungrateful. Always speak the truth no matter how painful it is, even if it is against the people dearest to you.
  3. Strive to make your daily life Islamic in every aspect (legal, educational, social, economic, in your greetings and language)
  4. Strive against your own soul until it is under your full control. Lower your gaze, control your emotions and direct your sexual urge to decent and lawful outlets.
  5. Call others to Islam. Familiarize your leadership with your activities and never undertake any actions without first consulting your leadership. Keep yourself in constant spiritual contact with your community and always consider yourself a soldier in the barracks awaiting a command.

Daily Islamic studies classes are given at the various As-Sabiqun masajid (mosques) across the country on a variety of topics including fiqh, hadith, Quran, seerah, strengthening family relations and analysis of contemporary political events. In addition, the As-Sabiqun movement runs an Islamic elementary school which provides students with both religious and secular education. They also provide youth mentorship, community food drives (especially during Ramadan), a prison outreach program, and employment assistance for ex-convicts.

See also


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