Rawd’l-Janaan

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I originally translated this text in 1994 when I first began working as a Muslim Chaplain in the Califo24tanbeeh5rnia Department of Corrections in northern California. I encountered a penal system that openly boasted of not being concerned with rehabilitation, but retribution and implementation of the verdicts of the courts. Law books and libraries were being systemically removed from the prisons and the only level of education the “CDC” became concerned with for the inmates was a high school education, and inmates attaining their GED certificates.

Any education beyond that during the year of 1994 and after was considered a waste of state funds, and posed a treat because it was from these educated inmates that well organized and legally warranted litigations ensued. What was left was for inmates to work off their exhobirtant court fines by working for the last bastion of slavery in the United States sanctioned by the government in 1864 in the words “slavery would no longer remain in these United States exceptas punitive punishment.”

The condition of the Muslim inmates was far worse than all others. They were being denied their rights to practice their religion in a manner that would lead to their rehabilitation and reform. In addition to this, the majority of the Muslim ‘chaplancy’ remained woefully ignorant of the religion they were being highly paid to teach and represent. Most of the Muslim chaplaincy were mere ‘timekeepers’ concerned with giving weekly Christian style preaching on Fridays, assuring the Muslim inmates acquiesced to any and all sanctions from the “CDC;” and where one particular Muslim chaplain used his position to maintain illicit affairs with one of the female relatives of a Muslim inmate he was sworn to guide and assist on the path to Allah ta’ala.

The situation of the Muslim populations in the“CDC” system when I was hired there was deplorable, and this was worsened by the cynical and jaded attitudes of the inmates who had resigned themselves to their lot. It was clear that the system required a miracle, if this lamentable situation were to change.

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